Pukapuka for pepi – Kitty Brown talks about Te Reo Māori board books

Kitty Brown and Kirsten Parkinson are cousins who’ve worked together on creating brilliant bilingual board books in te reo Māori and English with Reo Pepi. Kitty is here in Ōtautahi, and is presenting a special Storytimes / Wā Kōrero at New Brighton Library on Tuesday 5 July for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. We had a kōrero with her.

Kitty Brown

Kitty and her whānau are in Ōtautahi for a while, visiting their granny who lives in New Brighton. Her husband and son Tama are now living in a housebus and Christchurch is the first stop in their plan to visit places and be location free. Her co-author Kirsten is a dance teacher and has a Fine Arts degree – as Kitty says “she works fulltime, she’s got 3 kids, she’s a major overachiever!”

Tell us a bit about the special Storytimes / Wā Kōrero you are doing at New Brighton Library on Tuesday 5 July.

I will do our three – they are really fun to read:

  • Karahehe (Animals) – animal noises
  • Kanohi (My face) – everyone can play along with finding parts of face
  • Kākahu (Getting dressed) – play with pretending to get dressed up

CoverI will also do a selection of my faves. I am a huge fan of reading aloud. One favourite is Taniwha taniwha by Robyn Kahukiwa which she wrote for her moko (grandchildren). I will also do a couple of waiata. Tama and I go along to the one at New Brighton Library so I know how it rolls and I know what not to do!

What gave you the idea of doing bilingual books?

Kirsten and I both had pepi at the same time – Mihi is only about four months younger than Tama. We were both on maternity leave at the same time, and we’re cousins. We live around the corner from each other; we are really close – then we had babies and we needed to really reconnect with our reo ourselves. We thought what better time to do it than with our own pepi – they are learning to speak, we’re learning to speak. But what happened is we couldn’t find many resources. There’s not enough, and there’s not enough beautiful resources. There’s not enough durable, chewable books that we can share with our pepi after you’ve used every one at the library and you’re getting the same ones out again. We just saw that there was a lack.

We had the same idea. She started drawing, and I started researching text. We’d probably still be doing that now if it wasn’t for the support of Te Pūtahitanga. They gave us startup money to publish our pukapuka.

What role does the library play for you and your whānau?

The library in Dunedin to us is quite important to our lives. Libraries are integral. We had a lovely email from a whānau who had found the Kanohi book at their local library. They sent us a photograph of their daughter and she had the same hat on that’s in the book. Because it’s in the pukapuka that she got from the library she’s wanting to wear this hat all the time.

Libraries are really important so that those resources get to the whānau. For us going to the library and getting the books out from the Māori section is important – we’re really proud to be contributing to that section to make sure it has more resources and whānau find new things there. You can never have too many books.

Are there any books or resources you’d recommend if you want your tamaraki and whānau to be bilingual?

We really like Carolyn Collis. I like the sentence structures that she uses.  We try to make our reo everyday. I also like NZ books that integrate a little bit of te reo. Also:
Peter Gossage
Robyn Kahukiwa
Gavin Bishop

CoverWhat are you currently reading?

Māori made easy by Scotty Morrison. Thirty minutes a day, sort of like a prescription.

What next for you and Reo Pepi?

We are inspired by our tamariki again. They are just reaching for new concepts and we’re just following what they do. Kirsten has completed the illustrations for a second set of three pukapuka. The second set should be ready to go for the new educational year in February:

  • Kaute / Counting – illustrated with toys from the rooms of our tamariki
  • Ngā Tae / Colours – illustrated with insects
  • Kai  / Food – illustrated with tamariki enjoying kai (market testing unanimously picked kai as the third topic!)

After that there will be a third set of 3 books. We are looking into additional resources like posters and wall charts.

We’re going to the IBBY International Congress in August. We are going to have a stall there.  It’s majorly exciting – we’ll be going to Joy Cowley’s 80th birthday at Auckland Library!

Cover Cover

If you are flying to Auckland or elsewhere, you might spot Kitty and Kirsten’s Reo Pepi mentioned in the latest Air New Zealand Kia ora magazine!

Sewilicious birthday wishes

Cover of The Buys Girls Guide to SewingD’you know what I wanted to do for my birthday most of all? I wanted a day to sew – for myself! My family totally didn’t get it! They were all “You want to what?!”

I know it doesn’t sound like much of a celebration, but how often do I get to make something for me? Not often, I can tell you. It’s hard enough to keep up with the things I’ve promised to make for other people* let alone making anything for myself. So I took the day off, and  sewed all day, apart from when Mr K took me out for lunch. I actually finished a top that I had bought the fabric for about seven years ago. It was the best birthday ever.

Of course, I’ve still got fabric for Africa waiting to be made — bits I bought that were just too gorgeous not to, bits Mum gave me that I love but haven’t figured out what to do with, not to mention the bits I bought with actual projects in mind. All waiting, waiting…

Cover of Shape Shape 2: Sewing for minimalist styleWhat is a would-be-sewing-if-I-just-had-the-time-girl to do? Flicking through Shape Shape 2: Sewing for Minimalist Style by Natsuno Hiraiwa it occured to me that clothes that can be worn multiple ways would give me more bang for my buck. And OK, it won’t make much of a dent in my fabric stash, but I’ll have more wardrobe options for my efforts. (And a fabric stash is a good thing in its own right, isn’t it? Isn’t it?) And besides the designs are gorgeously simple and simply gorgeous!

So if I ever getting another day to just sew and sew, I know where I’ll be heading for inspiration. My favourites are the Double Circular Scarf, the Upside-Down Bolero Jacket, and the Long Vest/Stole. Do I have the right fabric in my stash to make them, though? I might have to go fabric shopping first…

*BTW, I managed to finish one sock for Grandpa…what’s the bet winter will be over before I get the other one done?

Thomas Edmonds Band Rotunda, foggy morning, 1960s : Picturing Canterbury

thomas_edmonds_band_rotunda__foggy_morning__1960s_2945357349_o_medium
Tranquil morning scene of Edmonds Rotunda prior to conversion to a restaurant. From colour transparency by Neil S. Bowie 1912-1972. Date: 1960s. File Reference: HW08-D-015-EdmondsRotunda Entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2008 Photo Hunt. Kete Christchurch. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Remembering a disastrous day – The Battle of the Somme

The Battle of the Somme lasted from July to November 1916. The New Zealand Division became involved on 15 September at Flers-Courcelette, which was their first major action on the Western Front.

New Zealand trench mortar officers on the Somme. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013112-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.New Zealand trench mortar officers on the Somme. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013112-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23130341
New Zealand trench mortar officers on the Somme. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013112-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23130341

While the casualty figures for the whole battle are horrendous for all nations involved, those for the opening day of the battle for the British Army and Newfoundland forces are truly staggering – over 57,000 wounded and more than 19,000 killed. It was truly a disastrous day and only the Fall of Singapore in 1942 saw more casualties for the British Army – although the majority of those were prisoners of war.

What makes 1 July even more devastating is that so many British and Newfoundland soldiers were going into action for the first time, many in what were known as Pals Battalions where men from local communities joined up together. Not surprisingly, this had disastrous consequences for these communities which were often in working class, industrial areas.

There are a couple of excellent and contrasting histories of this day. Martin Middlebrook’s First Day on the Somme is a classic military history which looks in great depth at the formation of the British units on the Somme and tells the story of the battle through the of a number of soldiers. Andrew Macdonald’s recent First Day of the Somme explores in great detail how the battle plan evolved and analyses the tactics of the army formations involved to show how they failed or partially succeeded.

Cover Cover

Over the next few days and months I will be thinking of those who fought on 1 July and throughout the rest of the battle, in particular the 7th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment who went into action near Fricourt late on 2 July.

Do you have any connection to the first day of the Somme, 1 July 1916?

Our newspaper and magazine archives are a great way to explore historic events as they unfold. Log in with your library card number and password / PIN.