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The Standing Strong House. Te Whare Tu Maia by Reina Kahukiwa, Illus. Robyn Kahukiwa. Maori language translation by Greg Henderson. Pub. OneTree House, 2020.

January 4, 2021 Comments off

This is an excellent bilingual version of the story of a whare built by the Ngati Tu Maia people in honour of their kuia Kahurangi that lasted down through the centuries till the present day.

It begins with the ngati Tu Maia living on the land in balance with the birds and animals in Tane’s forests. Kahurangi with her white tui, is their leader until she dies and in her honour the tribe build a whare.

It is a magnificient building and in the centre is the heart post with a carved face and figure of a woman with a white tui in her hands. The people lived and used the whare and gave it it’s mauri or life force.

Settlers came to the land and built their towns and cities and the whare was swallowed up at the edge of a town. Then a homeless family living in a car are guided to the house by a white tui and the people refurbish the whare and it opens it’s arms to the homeless.

An inspiring story that brings Maori culture into the modern world.

Text is in both English and Maori with a glossary of translated words in the back.

As always Robyn Kahukiwa’s illustrations are spot on culturally and bring life to the story.