Kia Ora koutou,
Many of you may be aware that I have recently written and illustrated a bilingual picture book which tells the oral tradition of Mauao, and very soon it will be available for purchase in book shops everywhere.
This came about because as a kapahaka and reo teacher at St Marys Catholic School, we draw on the story of Mauao constantly to share with the kids – but we have never had a resource to show them. One day I visited the library to look for a single book and after finding nothing on the shelves, I asked the librarian, ‘Do you have any Maori picture books that tell local Maori stories?’ She shook her head to say no, but then she said ‘maybe you should write one…’
Two or three years later and that book that I was trying so hard to find in the library, is the book that I have now completed. I couldn’t find it, so I wrote and illustrated it myself.
One of the greatest things about this project was being able to draw on my passions; writing, storytelling, drawing and Te Reo; to complete the whole book myself. I didn’t have to wait on anyone else and just worked at my own pace - which was still relatively fast. The only thing I did have to wait for was for my kids to go to bed so I could get my paintbrushes and art materials out and paint in peace. Like Mauao, I was waiting for the cover of darkness to get moving.
For my upcoming book launch, I would be extremely humbled to have some of our St Marys kids and whanau there.
Like the very last line of ‘E Hika’ says;
‘E kokoia e ara e’
That line translates to mean, ‘The birds have awakened. Dawn has come.’ For Mauao, this meant the stark realisation that he would not fulfil his wish however, for us I think this line can represent the awakening of our wairua, our learning of Maori traditions and our connection with Mauao. All in all, bringing a new dawn too - for us the people and also for our hometown.
Naku noa, Tamoe Ngata
St Mary’s Kapa Haka Tutor