Posts Tagged ‘Maori Myth and Legend’

Pipi and Pou and the Raging Mountain by Tim Tipene, illus. Isobel Te Aho-White. Pub. OneTree House, 2022

September 27, 2022 Comments off

A short easy to read novel for 6-12 year olds, with large font and only eight chapters with a strong environmental message and all within the context of Maori myth and legend.

Pipi and Pou are cousins who have the same Nana with super powers and wisdom in the natural world of the Maori. Pipi can transform into a Pouakai or giant eagle and Pou can transform into a strong Taniwha who likes being in water. All three are guardians of the environment.

When earthquakes start shaking down south Nan knows that a mountain, Maungatinonui, is distressed, and she takes Pipi and Pou with her to sort it out. It seems that Maungatinonui is upset about the treatment visitors are giving to the environment of the mountain. Our three guardians set about finding a solution to the problem. Read it and see how they get on.

Maori language is used throughout the English language text and helps familiarise the reader with important terms and concepts. Some knowledge of Maori is required.

A good read with Book 2 Pipi and Pou and the River Monster already published too and soon to be reviewed on this blog. Illustrations by Isobel Te Aho-White enhance the text and provide understanding of the characters and issues of the novel

Matariki . Around the World. By Rangi Matamua & Miriama Kamo, illus. Isobel Joy Te Aho-White Pub. Scholastic, 2022.

June 6, 2022 Comments off

With Matariki now a public holiday in New Zealand, recognition of this important day is now celebrated in this important picture book for school libraries and in the home.

It is a cluster of stores about a cluster of stars that vary in number from 6-9 even up to 12, depending on where in the Worlds they are viewed from.

The Maori called them Matariki. It was an important guide to the cycle of life and celebrated at a different time every year depending like Easter on the Lunar calendar.

It was also noted by the Aborigines, The Cook Islands, Tahiti and Hawaii. The Japanese called it Subaru, the Chinese knew it as Mao, the Indians included it in Hinduism and included in their myth and legend as well as the cycle of life particularly crop growing. Africans knew it as IsiLimela and it was known to the North American Indians, the Aztecs and the Incas.

The Greeks called it Pleiades named after seven sisters and it is known as this by most of the World.

All the myth and legend surrounding this cluster of stars is told in this beautifully illustrated picture book which is a must purchase for school libraries and individual homes. This will figure in book awards later in the year for sure.

Nor’East Swell by Aaron Topp. Pub. OneTree House, 2022

February 12, 2022 Comments off

This excellent novel for High school and young adult readers is a combination of surfing and Maori myth and legend. It is complex and deep and elevates surfing to the status of a religion while linking it to the Maori spirit of Wairua.

Aaron Topp is a surfing guru, I first read his early novel on surfing titled Single Finn where he analyses the surfing culture but this novel goes well beyond that.

Witi is a year 13 student, a guitar player, a surfer and a loner. He has a friend in Alana who also surfs and he would like to take the relationship further. Witi lives with his mother and they both mourn the disappearance of his father 8 years earlier. But has he disappeared for good, where has he been and will he return? That is one of the novels mysteries.

Onto the scene from Australia comes a stud surfer called Jordy who on his first day a school wades into a fight with the first 15 who are giving Witi a hiding. It seems a spur of the moment thing but is their something more sinister about him? Another mystery.

The novel is divided into four parts. Part 1 we learn of Witi’s background and of that of his father who was a rock’n roll legend in NZ. Part 2 is more poetic as it tells more of the mystical side of Witi’s father’s background and disappearance and has Jordy meddling with the relationship between Witi and Alana. It also discusses Wairua and the Maori spirit world.

Part 3 has Witi and Jordy investigating Witi’s father’s legend and finding a code that suggests a secret surfing beach with magical powers. Part 4 brings it all together with major action as we learn that Witi’s father has left a door open in the waves that leads to the place where Wairua leave for the after life and that Witi has a role to play in closing this doorway between worlds.

To confuse matters a major international company has found out about a power source in the secret bay and they know of Witi’s power. Guess who is the leader of this company?

Plenty of action and a lot of surreal happenings occur but you can find that out for yourself. Very Complex and culturally respectful.

Atua. Maori Gods and Heroes by Gavin Bishop. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2021.

October 23, 2021 Comments off

Maori Myth and legend are the equal of myths and legends of other cultures around this planet and in this big sized picture book, Gavin Bishop shows the reader just how appealing and all encompassing these myths and legends are.

It logically starts with Te Kore or the void or nothing into which the great sky father Ranginui E Tu Nei unfurled and then mother Earth Papatuanuku slipped beneath him and they bore over 70 Gods, all boys. Seven of them including Tangaroa god of the sea and Tanemahuta god of the forests.

It was dark and damp in the heavens and the boys led by Rongamatane God of gardens and kumera decided to split their parents and light spread through the land.

The Gods fought, the land developed and the Gods got to work. Every aspect of life was covered but where were the girls? Tumatauenga God of humans couldn’t get the hang of making a woman so Tanemahuta helped him out and the first woman Hineahuone was created. She was beautiful so tane took her as his wife and they had many children, all girls.

Then as their descendants multiplied and filled the Earth the legends of Maui and other gods are told including how he trapped the sun etc. Other legends follow plus the migrations from Hawaiki and settlement of New Zealand Aotearoa.

Simply told because this book is for children as well as older students.

The art work and illustrations are superb. You will not find a better book on this topic than Atua. Every school should have this and there is a place in the home for it to. For the layman there is a quick insight into the complexities of Maori culture something we all in Aotearoa should have.

This book is a treasure.

Maui’s Taonga Tales. A Treasury of stories from Aotearoa and the Pacific.

November 26, 2019 Comments off

mauis taongaMaui’s Taonga Tales. A Treasury of stories from Aotearoa and the Pacific. Pub. Te Papa Press, 2019.

December release

For me the most appealing aspect of Maori Culture has been the myths, legends and story telling along with the distinctive and unique art work. Maori highly regard their Toanga or treasures and this work combines Taonga relics with myth, legend and factual story telling.

The stories are narrated by that braggart and trickster, Maui and we get his famous legend of catching the North island with a special hook carved from a jaw bone plus Tane and the Kete of Knowledge amongst others.

There are modern stories of Willie Apiata’s bravery in battle and the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior plus the beautiful tale of Hinemoa and Tutanekai. Stories of bravery and heroism of Maori women and men in battle and in protection of their tribe and children also feature.

All are illustrated by eight contempory Maori Artists who combine the past styles with the new techniques of todays art. For me the most haunting artwork and story is that of Captain Cook’s confrontation and misunderstandings with first contact with Maori. The bodies on the beach make stunning artwork.

This work is for everybody. A powerful piece of publication. Don’t miss it.

The Bone Tiki by David Hair

The Bone Tiki by David Hair. Pub. HarperCollins, 2009.

This is a book based in two worlds, the real world and the world of Maori myth and legend.

In the real world Wiremu Matiu Douglas (Mat),  a 15 year old boy with a Maori father and a Celtic mother, lives his life in Napier New Zealand. His parents are separated and he  is going with his father to a Tangi for his great grand mother Wai-aroha, a woman who had disappeared for a long time and whose death awakens a great adventure.

Wai-aroha wore a bone tiki around her neck and had promised it to Wiremi(Mat) when she died. On the day of the tangi Mat overhears a telephone conversation between his father, who is a lawyer, and a deep voiced client, Puarata, who lays claim to the bone tiki.

Puarata is a Godfather like character who has lost mana with his tribe and family and is not wanted at the tangi. He claims to have carved the bone tiki, allegedly from human bone, and wants it back.

Mat instinctively dislikes Puarata, and at the tangi takes the bone tiki off Wai-aroha’s neck as she lies in state on the Marae. As soon as he touches the tiki he feels it’s power. He then flees the tangi with Puarata and his henchmen in pursuit with the intention of going to his mother’s place in Taupo.

The chase is fast and thrilling and in the middle there is a transition into the world of myth and legend. He meets a young girl, Pania, who helps him in the early part of his escape . She understands the power of the Bone tiki and encourages Mat to stay off the roads and make his way inland through the rivers and bush. She also tells him if he gets in big trouble to hold the tiki and say Toa.

Mat is to find out that wherever the tiki goes it awakens the land of myth and legend, and that he is fleeing from a past that is savage and thrilling at the same time.

A fantastic first novel from David Hair, the type of story that is lacking in New Zealand children’s writing and themes that haven’t been developed since Joanna Orwin’s Owl and Joy Cowley’s The Hunter.

Aimed at Intermediate and high school students, do yourself a favour and read this exciting novel. I believe David Hair has another novel out Taniwha’s Tear and I cannot wait to read it.