Quite a few NZ-published books for children are published in both te Reo Maori and English. Here is a roundup of some of the most recent…
Tahoe: He Pakiwaitara mo Hinemoa raua ko Tutanekai or Swim : The Story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai by Chris Szekely and Andrew Burdan (Huia) is the Te Arawa story of two lovers forbidden to meet but who find a way to be together. In the legend, Hinemoa lives by Lake Rotorua and Tutanekai on the island, Mokoia. Hinemoa falls in love when Tutanekai plays the flute, but Hinemoa’s father considers him unsuitable. They vow to be together, and every night on the island, Tutanekai plays his flute to guide Hinemoa to him. With no canoe, Hinemoa must swim the lake with mystical creatures in it to be with Tutanekai. The beautiful illustrations are supported by an evocative audio soundtrack told in te reo Maori, and featuring a traditional Maori flute, which you can download on the Huia site.
Page Break publishes the lovely Fantail’s Quilt by Gay Hay and Margaret Tolland, which has been translated by Piripi Walker into Te Papangarua a Piwakawaka The beautifully illustrated story of a Piwakawaka/Fantail building a nest for her eggs to keep them safe. Hungry Rat is out on the prowl – what will happen when their paths cross? Includes factual information about fantails, a glossary of Maori words, and a key to the plants and animals that live in the fantail’s forest.
Maumahara Ki Tera Noema or Remember That November by Jennifer Beck and Lindy Fisher is another stunning picture book from Huia Publishers: it’s almost Guy Fawkes Night, and at the school speech competition Andy talks about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. The children cheer excitedly, thinking Andy will win the contest. But then, Aroha gets up, wearing a white feather in her hair, and tells the story of another fifth of November – the invasion of Parihaka in 1881. Parihaka had become the centre of a major campaign of non-violent Maori resistance – symbolised by the weraing oof a white feather inthe hair – to European occupation of confiscated land in the area. On the 5th of November 1881 the colonial government ordered a military assault by 1600 troops and cavalry, the village was violently destroyed and people forcibly dispersed.
All the stories are fascinating and the illustrations are spectacular – it is very exciting to see simultaneous publication of such great books in both languages!