Stars of storytelling: Te Reo Wainene o Tua

Hei whakanui i Te Wiki o te Reo Māori/ to celebrate Māori Language Week, Christchurch City Libraries teamed up with Te Reo Wainene o Tua to deliver storytelling events across the city.

Te Reo Wainene o Tua are a group of high-profile role models and Māori language advocates who are motivated by desires to revitalise pūrākau and normalise Te Reo Māori. The group travel both nationally and internationally, to deliver the craft of Māori storytelling.

Rāapa – On the third day of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori I had the privilege of experiencing Te Reo Wainene o Tua in action for the first time at Te Kete Wānanga o Wai Mōkihi – South Library. After getting over the initial fangirl moment of course. Tamati Waaka (those of you who follow Te Matatini will know this Te Whānau a Apanui celebrity) captivated the audience, children and adults alike. Among his stories was Te Whatukura o Tangaroa, I have read this many times and yet I have never gained such an understanding of the story as I have now after watching Te Reo Wainene o Tua in action.

Rāpare – On Thursday we had Pāpā Joe Harawira down at Te Kete Wānanga o Karoro – New Brighton Library. Watching this expert at work with our tamariki was an absolute joy. For the second day in a row we had the pleasure of hosting an event inclusive of students from Kura Kaupapa Māori like those in attendance from Te Kura Whakapūmau i te Reo Tūturu ki Waitaha.

Rāmere – Our final day collaborating with Te Reo Wainene o Tua featured Scotty and Stacey Morrison at Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre. These high-profile Māori personalities dazzled our youngsters with their waiata, pūrākau and Moana references. As one of the many tamariki who grew up with Stacey Morrison as a role model, speaking at events that I attended when I was young, to watch her continuing to motivate and inspire our tamariki was very special.

Te Reo Wainene o Tua
Scotty and Stacey Morrison get tamariki moving at Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre, Friday 15 September 2017.

The Te Reo Wainene o Tua experience was inspiring to say the least. To see the many random passers-by stop to hear the sounds of Te Reo Māori normalised in our public spaces, sit down with their tamariki and listen was heartening. More than once I was taken back to my childhood listening to my own Pāpā with the smell of fried ham coming from the kitchen and the sound of the waves lapping the shore on Paekakariki beach. They truly represent that Sweet Story of Yester – year. As well as this, they recover that which is lost in translation when Māori stories are translated into English.

Kia ora te Reo Māori!
Let the Māori language live.

Check out some pukapuka by the presenters:

What’s in a name? A whole story, actually! – Māori library names

What’s in a name? A whole story, actually! Every library in the Christchurch City Libraries network is named in both English and Māori, and with two new libraries (or rather, libraries returning in sparkly new form) popping up recently, we’d like to share a bit about their Māori names.

Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre, from Nayland St
Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre, from Nayland St. Flickr Sumner-2017-08-19-community-3_6

Our libraries’ Māori names tell some great stories about their areas. For instance Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre has been given the original Ngāi Tahu name for Sumner Beach. Literally referencing the upright posture of bitterns, it also reflects the community and local iwi identity and recalls a Polynesian tradition associated with Tawhaki, who is said to have ascended to the heavens in the pursuit of knowledge – very appropriate for a library!

Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre means “the place of the multitude of eels” and recalls the area before it was planted and developed by the Bishop family in the 19th century. At this time whata (eels) swam in overflow water basins formed during flooding from the Waimairi River.

Curious about your local library’s Māori name? You can find our all about it on our Māori Library Names page (and listen to sound files of the pronunciations too). While you’re exploring, why not check out our Te Wiki o te Reo Māori page too? Or view the video below showing some Māori place names in and around Ōtautahi.

Jo
Te Kete Wānanga o Whakaraupo — Lyttelton Library

Celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori with Tuhinga Pikitia – Te Reo Māori Picture Books

Some people might say they’re just here for the kai, but I would say I’m just here for the tuhinga pikitia*. I love picture books, I really do. A good picture book is a work of art.

9780143502838One of my all-time favourite picture books is Kei Te Pēhea Koe? by Tracy Duncan. I love it because the illustrations are so evocative, just one look at the picture for “makariri” makes me shiver, and there’s no mistaking how hungry the little girl on the “matekai” page feels. The words are in both Māori and English which is great for people like me, who aren’t fluent in te reo.

9781775430117Another favourite of mine is Ngā kahumoe o te ngeru by Catherine Foreman. I remember the first time I read this book, when it came through the returns slot one quiet evening at Fendalton Library. The cat looked so sweet, tucked up in bed with his colourful pjs and his cuddly little rabbit, that I had to read it, even though I knew I probably wouldn’t understand a word. This is a lovely story, about a cat who wears a different pair of pyjamas each night, which inspire wonderful dreams…but when he wears his MONSTER pyjamas — well you can guess what happens! I understood all of this, just from the pictures. Because, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I enjoy the English version too, but somehow, when I read it, it doesn’t seem quite as magical as that time I “read” the te reo version.

9781775432968Just the other week, I discovered a beautiful new favourite — Hush by Joy Cowley. This is a kiwi version of the classic lullaby, beautiful illustrated by Andrew Burdan. When Miss Missy was a baby, I used to sing Hush Little Baby to her, but I couldn’t remember the words properly, and made up my own version — I wish this book had been around then! Joy Cowley is much better than I am at making up words! The te reo translation is at the back of the book — I think it’s a shame the two languages aren’t together on the same page, but still, it’s a lovely book, and a beautiful song to share with your tamariki.

9780473201791If you like waiata, then Sharon Holt is worth keeping an eye out for. She has lots of te reo titles, which include CDs to sing along with, which is a great way to learn the reo. Kei te Peke Ahau is lots of fun, with all the rere, peke, and pakipaki  (flying, jumping, and clapping). Each page has a different animal and action to do, ending up with e moe pēpi — sleeping like a baby (not an animal, I know…unless it’s jungle hour, then babies are definitely animals).

9780473331504Speaking of pēpi, it is the beautiful illustrations of pēpi and tamariki in Kanohi by Kitty Brown that make this book. This bilingual pukapuka is full of gorgeous, cheeky kids, with text in both te Reo and English. I can’t quite make up my mind if my favourite is the taringa picture or the ngutu one. This series of board books are perfect if you want to teach your tamariki a little bit of te Reo, or maybe learn a bit yourself. In fact, it was Kitty Brown’s desire to reconnect with her reo that prompted her to write the books. You can read more about this in our interview with her.

If you want more ideas for ways to share te Reo with your tamariki, then check out our page of resources

During te Wiki o te Reo Maori, we’ll have Storytimes with te reo Māori at all our libraries.

*The food is pretty good too. OK, I’m actually just here for the food AND the picture books!

30 years on, how far has the revitalisation of te Reo Māori come?

30 years ago, on the 1st August 1987, the New Zealand Government passed the Māori Language Act 1987 making Te Reo Māori an official language of New Zealand. While this should be celebrated, it is worth noting that it took 127 years for the indigenous language of this Country to be formally recognised by the Crown.

I had initially planned in this blog to recount the various ways that the speaking of te Reo Māori was suppressed over those 127 years. I was going to outline the various Crown policies and laws that were implemented to ensure that the language was suppressed and literally ‘beaten’ out of Māori. Laws such as Native Schools Act 1867 that enforced the non-speaking of te Reo Māori in public spaces, in particularly schools.

I had intended to remind people that “It takes one generation to lose a language and at least three to restore it”. Thus given my previous statement it is no wonder that te Reo Māori was in a complete state of decline by the late 20th century, beginning the proactive movement to rejuvenate and revitalise te Reo Māori within all aspects of our lives.

But that all changed on Saturday morning while watching a video post from a prominent te Reo Māori tutor.  He, along with his whānau, was abused in their local supermarket in their hometown for speaking Māori to each other. The tutor and his partner had made the decision to raise their children in te Reo Māori. Therefore, by their own choice, they speak Māori to their children and around their children wherever they are.

Imagine while talking among themselves, their shock being confronted by an irate woman telling them in a loud aggressive voice “this is New Zealand, we speak English here not that gibberish!” Aware of their children, they thanked the woman for her opinion and continued on with their shopping. A few minutes later, while the son was speaking to his mother in te Reo Māori, the woman started to mock the boy, telling him to speak English, the real language of this country. Naturally the parents interjected, politely rose above it, collected their children and shopping and left.

Naturally I was angry and sickened that someone would do this to a child.  But more importantly, I was sad and disappointed that in this day and age there are still people with these antiquated views.  We might be an educated and progressive society, but for some people it’s still 1867.

But don’t be disheartened. When we measure the tangible achievements of the last 30 years, we clearly see how far the revitalisation of te Reo Māori has come. How well this rejuvenation has worked:

  • Te Reo Māori, the indigenous language of New Zealand, is recognised as an official language of New Zealand and with this the right to speak it anywhere and at anytime;
  • Kōhanga Reo and Māori Early Childhood Centres;
  • Kura Kaupapa, Kaupapa Māori special character schools, bilingual units;
  • Iwi rejuvenation programmes such as Kotahi Mano Kaika, Hāpai i te reo;
  • Tertiary degrees in te Reo Māori, ōna tikanga me ngā ahurea Māori;
  • The ability to write your University thesis in te Reo Māori;
  • A week long total immersion wānanga known as Kura Reo;
  • Whare wānanga;
  • Incorporation of te Reo Māori in some work spaces particularly government offices;
  • Some bilingual signage and dual names;
  • two television channels – one totally in Māori;
  • 21 iwi radio stations and a further 5 kaupapa Māori focused stations with te Reo Māori segments;
  • An agency dedicated to supporting te Reo Māori aspirations known as Te Taura Whiri;
  • A National committee of te Reo Māori Champions know as Te Mātāwai, tasked with assisting with te Reo Māori aspirations;
  • Te Reo Māori books, Facebook pages, apps and electronic resources;
  • A course dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in te Reo Māori me ōna tikanga – Te Panekiretanga o te Reo Māori;
  • A week where the whole nation ‘celebrates’ the Māori language;
  • A social experiment for the month of September when those who speak Māori choose to speak only Māori throughout that month on a nominated day, week or for the entire month;
  • Presenters on ‘mainstream’ television use more te Reo Māori than ever and that’s just the Pākehā ones! More te Reo Māori is being normalised through every day use.
  • Te Ture mō te Reo Māori 2016 the first and only legislation written in te Reo Māori – not just translated.

Ah yes we have come a long way in 30 years, we do have much to celebrate.  But imagine how much more we could have achieved if we, as a nation, had embraced te Reo Māori 127 years ago. All New Zealanders would be bilingual for starters. There would be no need to repair 127 years of attempted cultural and language genocide. All New Zealanders would know the true history of their country. We would perform (properly) more than one haka for all occasions – and understand them. We would all sing both versions of the National anthem. These are just some of the things WE could have done. But we didn’t do that and now we are where we are.

Sadly haters are always going to hate.  What happened to that young Māori whānau the other Friday night vocalised thoughts born of ignorance and fear of the unknown. This an evolution people, not a revolution. Yes this might be New Zealand and we might speak English here, but the indigenous language is Māori. A language I, like that young whānau, are proud to reclaim as our birthright. Learn it, live it, love it!

So, 30 years on how far has the revitalisation of te Reo Māori come I ask? Well, a lot further than some expected, but considering that incident in a large supermarket in Hastings, perhaps not as far as most of us would have hoped.

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week 2017

This year Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) has shifted from its usual end of July timing to 11-17 Mahuru (September). This year we also celebrate the 30th anniversary of te reo Māori as an official language of Aotearoa.

The theme for this year’s Māori Language Week is –

Kia ora te reo – Let the Māori language live

In celebration of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori we will be publishing a blog post each day incorporating te reo Māori or highlighting te reo Māori resources.

Te Reo Māori i Te Whare Pukapuka – Māori Language at The Library

Christchurch City Libraries – Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi will be celebrating Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori with Wā Kōrero/Storytimes throughout the week with te reo Māori songs and stories. There will also be a couple of storytimes sessions extra to our usual schedule delivered by a bilingual presenter at Linwood and Aranui.

See our events calendar for a session near you.

Preschool storytimes
All our wā kōrero/storytimes sessions during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori will include Māori language stories/songs

If kapa haka is more your thing, get your takahia on at Aranui Library, 2-3pm on Thursday 14 September where St James School – Te Kura o Hato Hemi will be performing.

Adding te reo Māori to your library experience can be as straightforward as the tap of a screen – why not simply try out the reo Māori option on our māu e tuku (self issue) machines?

Using māu e tuku/self issue
There are a variety of language options on our self-issue machines including Te Reo Māori.

Or learn a new kupu (word) by reading our bilingual library signs or even just learn to say the Māori name of your local library.

Mahuru Māori

Beyond the official week celebrating te reo, a further initiative, Mahuru Māori, encourages te reo Māori speakers of all levels of ability to commit to speaking te reo Māori only during the month of Mahuru/September. Other options are to speak te reo Māori anake during a chosen day of the week, or for one week of the month. Te reo speakers can join the Mahuru Māori Facebook Group for support and help to complete the challenge. For te reo tweets during September follow @MahuruMaori.

Ngā Rauemi Te Reo Māori – Māori Language Resources

Whaowhia te kete mātauranga – Fill the basket of knowledge

There are many, many resources available for anyone wanting to improve their te reo Māori knowledge. Here are some suggestions for filling your basket.

Kōrero Māori ki… – Speak Māori at…

In addition to online resources and titles available at your local library, the following initiatives and events can help bring some te reo into your day.

  • A cafe – Order your drink of choice in te reo at any of the cafes in our libraries (South, Upper Riccarton and Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre) or at The Kitchen cafe on the ground floor of the Christchurch City Council building on Hereford St and from 11-16 September you’ll get an extra sweet treat to go with your drink. Need help with how to place your cafe order in te reo? Te Taura Whiri o Te Reo Māori (The Māori Language Commission) has produced this fantastic guide to awhi you.
  • The post office – NZ Post is celebrating Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori this year with a range of stamps featuring Māori kupu (words) to do with technology. Learn new words like “ahokore” (wifi), “Pūnaha Kimi Ahunga” (Global Positioning System) or “waka hiko” (electric car).
  • Cover of Disney Moana Music From the Motion Picture Soundtrack : Piano, Vocal, GuitarThe movies (Moana Reo Māori) – Disney’s hugely successful animated feature with a Polynesian setting, Moana, has been dubbed entirely in te reo Māori (including the waiata) and will screen in cinemas during Māori Language Week… for free (though online booking fees may apply). There are limited session times so get in quick for tickets. For a taste of what to expect, watch a video of the cast singing to Taika Waititi and whanau (via Facetime).
  • Anywhere – Te Puni Kōkiri is distributing special “kōrero” badges so if you see someone wearing one it’s a tohu that they can carry out a conversation in te reo Māori and are happy to do so. Give them a cheery, “kia ora” if nothing else!

Ngā Rauemi mō Ngā Tamariki – Children’s Resources

Search our catalogue

We’ve also made lists of modern classic picture books in Te Reo Māori and Māori stories for older children.

If you know of other resources, events or initiatives in Ōtautahi to help people celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, please feel free to let us know about them in the comments below.

Wā kōrero ki te kainga – Storytimes at home

Ko tēnei te wiki o te reo Māori (it’s Māori Language Week) and throughout our network of libraries the usual preschool storytime sessions for this week will have added te reo Māori content.

If you attended a session and want to try adding some te reo Māori stories at home, or if you missed out and want to give it a go yourself here’s a list of recommended titles for introducing some linguistic variety into your child’s storytime repertoire.

Cover of Te hua tuatahi a KuwiTe hua tuatahi a Kuwi  by Katherine Merewether

Kuwi the Kiwi has never had an egg before, so she’s unsure how to look after it. When the egg gets a crack Kuwi thinks that the egg is broken, but she’s in for a surprise.

Kanohi – My Face by Kitty Brown

One of a series of te reo board books. Read our interview with author Kitty Brown.

Cover of Rhyme & reoRhyme & Reo: Aeiou: A Fun Way to Learn Māori Vowel Sounds by Jessica Ngatai

“This book is an educational resource to help teachers, parents whanau and children build confidence to use and enjoy te reo. Illustrated and featuring quirky Kiwi poems, weaving reo through the English text, with explanatory notes on the pronunciation of the vowel sounds appearing on a side-bar on each page”

Cover of Māori art for kidsMāori Art for Kids by Julie Noanoa

This collection of 15 projects offers children aged 7 and over a range of unique Māori art experiences. Practical skills cover sculpture, photography, design, paint, mixed media, collage and more. Easy-to-follow instructions include illustrations of the steps involved, using everyday craft materials, recycled and found objects. Examples of taonga (treasures) created by leading contemporary artists are shown alongside each project with a brief explanation of the object, its purpose and use in the past and present.

Cover of Hoiho pakuHoiho paku by Stephanie Thatcher

“An endearing story about a penguin called Little Hoiho who wants to be more like the other birds she sees around her, Kotuku, Toroa, and Tui. But Little Hoiho learns that her body is made for swimming and spinning and twisting in the water, and that she is perfect just the way she is”

E oma, moko kākāriki by Gay Hay

A rare Wellington green gecko is wary of predators and runs to safety. Includes factual information about green geckos, their behaviour and life cycle, and traditional Māori beliefs about geckos.

Cover of Mahi tahiMahi tahi by Sharon Holt

A song (with book and CD) about working, playing and interacting together. Read our interview with author Sharon Holt.

E hoki Flash by Ruth Paul

Follows the adventures of mischievous dog Flash who escapes from home and gets up to all sorts of antics, chasing cats, sneaking into cars, rolling in rubbish.

Cover of Nā wai te waka i totohu?Nā wai te waka i totohu? by Pamela Allen

The reader is invited to guess who causes the boat to sink when five animal friends of varying sizes decide to go for a row.

Hairy Maclary no te teri a Tanarahana by Lynley Dodd

When Hairy Maclary and his canine friends go for a walk and encounter Scarface Claw, the toughest Tom in town, they run away

Cover of Te TanguruhauTe Tanguruhau by Julia Donaldson

The Māori language version of the children’s picture book, The Gruffalo. A clever mouse uses the threat of a terrifying creature to keep from being eaten by a fox, an owl, and a snake, only to have to outwit that creature as well.

Kei reira ngā weriweri by Maurice Sendak

When Max wears his wolf suit and makes mischief, he is sent to bed without his supper. But in his room a forest grows and Max sails to the land of the wild things where he becomes their king.

Cover of Taniwha, taniwhaTaniwha, Taniwha by Robyn Kahukiwa

An adventure with Supa Heroes, Maui and Hina

Kei te toro haere mātou by Katie Kool

Simple adventures of family life with Charlie the dog. From the series Beginning to read with Charlie.

Cover of Ko wai e huna anaKo wai e huna ana? by Satoru Ōnishi

“Simple sentences, counting, colours, recognising emotion, the names of animals, beginner-level te reo Māori for children and learners.”

He tuatara by Carolyn Collis

Reader for children in Māori. Looks at a tuatara. From the Early Te Reo Reading Book series.

Cover of Te anuhe tino hiakaiTe anuhe tino hiakai by Eric Carle

Follows the progress of a hungry little caterpillar as he eats his way through a varied and very large quantity of food until, full at last, he forms a cocoon around himself and goes to sleep. Good for learning different words for food.

Waiata

Cover of Mahi tahiMahi tahi by Sharon Holt

A song (with book and CD) about working, playing and interacting together. Read our interview with author Sharon Holt.

Songs for Bubbas 2 by Anika Moa

Catchy music for preschoolers with some te reo Māori.

Cover of Waiata maiWaiata mai sing along with Aunty Bea

Book with audio CD (Music by Aunty Bea & Rodger Cunningham)

Hush: A Kiwi Lullaby by Joy Cowley

The traditional lullaby ‘Hush Little Baby’, retold with a strong New Zealand flavour. A baby is promised a series of items including a woolly sheep, kowhai flowers and singing tui.

The Dead Lands: Making a movie in te reo Māori

I’ve studied a few languages over the years including te reo Māori and one thing my teachers always encouraged was watching films in the language as it helped develop an ear for what native speakers sound like, as well as helping with vocabulary and grammar. In fact, this is how I first discovered Jackie Chan movies when I was learning Chinese.

Learners of te reo Māori are lucky enough to have Māori Television as a resource for hearing te reo Māori spoken, even if no one else in their household, school or place of work is fluent. But in terms of Saturday night movies on DVD, there’s very little to choose from.

t’s not difficult to find movies with a sprinkling of te reo Māori, here and there – films like Whale rider, BoyThe Piano and a few others. But a movie where the only English language you’ll find is in the subtitles? Now, that is a rarity – but that’s exactly what you get with 2014 action movie, The Dead Lands.

With impressively gory deaths and terrific fight choreography The Dead Lands is sort of a cross between Apocalypto, (Mel Gibson’s brutal Meso-American set action film), a Bruce Lee movie, and a mafia revenge drama. It’s closest cinematic equivalent in New Zealand terms might be the Geoff Murphy directed classic, Utu.

Director Toa Fraser, was good enough to answer a few questions for me about the te reo Māori aspect of the film.

Toa Fraser on set
Director Toa Fraser on set with actor James Rolleston. Photo credit: Matt Klitscher

Why was the decision made to have the dialogue in te reo, rather than in English? How do you think it added to the film?

Honestly, we just thought it would be much cooler to do it in te reo. Glenn Standring always wrote it to be translated. Te Manahau Morrison wrote a beautiful translation, very heightened and theatrical that the cast found thrilling and challenging. It suited the fact that we were making an indigenous martial arts movie that looked to Hollywood but also to Asia for inspiration. Kurosawa was a particular inspiration.

Did this require the actors, or you, to learn more te reo?

The cast had a very varied level of confidence in te reo. We did cast it in such a way that people like Te Kohe Tuhaka and Raukura Turei could lead within the group, and guide the others who were less confident. For me I don’t speak te reo so of course it was very challenging but I had great support from Tainui Stephens and Jamus Webster.

Are there specific challenges with making a movie completely in te reo Maori or is it pretty much the same as making one in English?

It was a joy to make a movie that embraced tikanga Māori as a paramount part of the process. We said karakia everyday, used Māori terms onset (e.g. tīmata/kōkiri for action, kāti for cut).

I still say “kāti” on set. I directed an episode of Penny Dreadful in Ireland last year with Eva Green and Rory Kinnear. Rory said, “We just keep going until you say kāti.”

What are your thoughts on the use of te reo Māori, generally?

I look forward to the day when we are all comfortable in New Zealand/Aotearoa speaking English and Māori as much as we can, and all schools are equally well-resourced for English and Māori language education. I think it is ridiculous that, for instance, a very well-resourced central Auckland school has some 15, 000 books in English, a few in Japanese, one French and erm, some in Māori. What’s that about?

Languages are cool. Let’s celebrate them.

Find out more

Ngā Rorohiko (electric brains) and more Te Reo Māori in the library

Kia ora. Here are some resources to help you find what library things are called in Māori.

Te reo Maori cards

Bicultural signage at Christchurch City Libraries Ngā Kete Wānanga O-Ōtautahi has the library-related word or phrase in English, with an MP3 sample of it in te reo Māori, and a more descriptive explanation of the meaning.

For example:

Computers Descriptive: Electric brains Ngā Rorohiko Ngā Ro-ro-hi-ko
Self Issue Descriptive: It is for you to despatch Māu e Tuku Mā-u e Tu-ku

For more library words in te reo, try Bilingual signs list from He Puna: a Maori language resource for librarians compiled by Hinureina Mangan & Chris Szekely. This useful resource compiles words, subjects, and terms from libraries all around Aotearoa – from Abstracts “kupu arahi” to the Young Adult section “te wāhanga ki te hunga taiohi“.

I can see the following coming in handy:

  • take aronui – hot topics
  • pukapuka hou – new books

All our libraries have names in Te Reo Māori, and you can borrow your books on the Māu e Tuku in Te Reo Māori.

Te Reo Māori self checkout

Go to our Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori post for more information on Māori Language Week.

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!

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week 2016

The dates for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) this year are 4 – 11 Hōngongoi (4-11 July) and this year the theme is –

Te reo tautoko – behind you all the way

The phrase “Ākina te reo – using the Māori to show support” is also being used as part of the campaign which includes celebrity ambassadors like Canterbury’s own Andrew Mehrtens making more of an effort to improve their te reo skills.

Te Reo Māori i Te Whare pukapuka – Māori Language at The Library

Cover of Kanohi: My faceChristchurch City Libraries – Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi will be celebrating Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori with special bilingual storytimes throughout the week. See our events calendar for one near you.

The Wā Kōrero (Storytime) session at New Brighton will have a special guest performer in Kitty Brown, co-author of a series of te reo Māori board books for children.

The kids from Merrin School will be raising the roof at Upper Riccarton Library on Wednesday, 6 July with a rousing kapa haka performance. Not to be missed!

We’re also hosting a special event on The History of Te Reo Māori in Children’s Publishing on Thursday, 7 July at Fendalton Library.

But there’s no need to attend a special event to add te reo Māori to your library experience -why not simply try out the reo Māori option on our self checkout machines?

Te Reo Māori self checkout
Te Reo Māori self checkout, Flickr File Reference: 2014-07-10-IMG_0669

Read our Te Kupu o Te Wiki (Word of the week) blog posts.

Or learn a new kupu (word) by reading our bilingual library signs or even just learn to say the Māori name of your local library.

Ngā Rauemi Te Reo Māori – Māori Language Resources

Whaowhia te kete mātauranga – Fill the basket of knowledge

There are many, many resources available for anyone wanting to improve their te reo Māori knowledge. Here are some suggestions for filling your basket.

Hākinakina – Sports

Ākina te reo - support the language

Ngā Rauemi mō Ngā Tamariki – Children’s Resources

Download one of our colouring in pages [39KB PNG, 354KB PDF]

Matariki

Cover of Ko wai tōku ingoa?Search our catalogue

We’ve also made lists of modern classic picture books in Te Reo Māori and Māori stories for older children.