Auckland Libraries: Milestones in Māori picture book publishing

Milestones in Māori picture book publishing

Ngā Whāinga i te whakaputa pukapuka pikitia Māori

This is a list dear to my heart. One that has been bubbling away for a while, trying to find somewhere for expression…I’ve been around children’s publishing for quite a while, and watched New Zealand’s publishing landscape change, and trends come and go – and grow… Some books have stood out and made me cheer. Made me celebrate how far our country – our reading public – have come along a bilingual journey. I know we have miles to go, but we have made progress.A step along our path was the creation of LIANZA’s Te Kura Pounamu Award in 1985, which in 2016 became New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Te Reo Māori (Te Kura Pounamu Award).There are so many books and so many creators I could have highlighted – but it came down to my memory and the books that stuck with me. 

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The house of the people

Ronald Leonard. Bacon

Book

Originally published in 1977, this won the inaugural Russell Clark Award for illustration in 1978. Bacon published versions of many traditional stories, but he also presented te ao Māori and tikanga to the non- Māori world.

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How Maui found his mother

Peter Gossage

Picture book

Originally published as How Maui-tiki-tiki-a-Taranga found his mother in 1975, Peter Gossage went on to have a heralded career in publishing, and, it was through his work that many non-Māori came to know Māori legends.

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The Caltex book of Maori lore

James Cowan

Book

Published in 1959, this was a much read and loved book in my Pākehā household. It is dated, but it introduced te ao Māori to a wider community. In a similar vein was Maori legends retold by Alistair Campbell published in 1969.

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The house that Jack built

Gavin Bishop

Picture book

Originally published in 1999, although this features no te reo Māori in the text (being a traditional English rhyme) the illustrations are a tour de force in imagining the colonisation of New Zealand. It is stunning, end paper to end paper.

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The wonder book of Māori legends

A. W. (Alexander Wyclif) Reed

Book

First published as Wonder tales of Maoriland in 1964, this 1977 title literally demonstrates New Zealand’s movement to a more culturally-aware climate. Reed was a powerhouse in New Zealand publishing, collating and sharing our stories.

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The kuia and the spider

Patricia Grace

Picture book

These two wahine toa teamed up to create two classics of New Zealand’s publishing, this, and Watercress tuna and the children of Champion Street. Together, or separately, they are worth checking out.

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Te haere ki te rapu pea

Michael Rosen

Picture book

In 2012, Huia began publishing te reo Māori translations of classic picture books, with We’re going on a bear hunt. It was great to see big-name, overseas publishers so willing to have their works translated into te reo Māori.

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Nanny Mihi's treasure hunt

Melanie Drewery

Picture book

The first Nanny Mihi book, Nanny Mihi and the rainbow, was published in 2001. This title in 2004. I rejoice in the fact there is no glossary – we are expected to understand te reo Māori kupu (words). See also Tracy Duncan’s solo titles.

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Tekiteora, kei hea o hu?

Ngareta Gabel

Picture book

Published in 2003, and then adapted and translated into te reo Pākehā as Oh hogwash, Sweet Pea! by Hannah Rainforth. Yes, this began life in te reo Māori. It is a joy to read in any language.

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Book list by:

Annie

LibrarianHelensville Library