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Te Kura Pounamu Award: 2020 NZCYA Te Reo Māori finalists

July 17th, 2020 By Ruki Tobin

Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori.
Ko te kupu te mauri o te reo Māori.
E rua ēnei wehenga kōrero e hāngai tonu ana ki runga i te reo Māori.
Ko te reo, nō te Atua mai.

The language is the life force of the mana Māori.
The word is the life force of the language.
These two ideas are absolutely crucial to the Māori language.
A language, which is a gift to us from God.

This famous quote by Ngāpuhi leader, politician, and Lieutenant Colonel of the Māori Battalion, Sir James Henare, encapsulates the importance of the Māori language to the Māori people.

The use of Te Reo Māori in recent years in all media has shown a real intent to provide content and resources, but most of all stories that reflect the world of readers now while giving them the ability to learn Te Reo and the Māori World View (Te Ao Māori).

This blog post is the fifth in a series reviewing books on the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults (NZCYA) shortlist in the run-up to the announcement of the award winners on 12 August.

Promotional poster for New Zealand Book Awards for  Children and Young Adults Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Māori 2020 finalists, with book cover images and #NZCYA

Te Kura Pounamu Award shortlist

The five finalists in the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award are recognised for their use of Te Reo Māori in their stories to translate the different themes and messages unique to each story.

Arapū Toi

Arapū Toi is a children’s picture book written by Moira Wairama and illustrated by Austin Whincup. This book, with its beautiful artwork and poetry in Te Reo, is visually stimulating and eloquently written. Both Te Reo and images complement each other harmoniously.

Ko Flit, te Tirairaka, me ngā Hēki Muna

Ko Flit, te Tirairaka, me ngā Hēki Muna (Flit the Fantail and the Mystery Eggs) is a children’s book written and illustrated by Kat Quin and translated by Ngaere Roberts. The story is an adventure where Flit, the main character of the story, comes across some mysterious eggs. Flit, with the help of his friends, tries to figure out what type of eggs they are and where they came from.

The illustrations are exciting with their colours and images, while the Māori language used is current and reflects the development of Te Reo Māori in its present state.

Ngā Hoa Hoihoi o Kuwi

Ngā Hoa Hoihoi o Kuwi is another children’s book written and illustrated by Kat Quin, with Te Reo Māori translations by Pānia Papa. This fun children’s book, with vibrant illustrations of New Zealand birds and insects and rich Te Reo Māori content, explores the challenges faced by parents when dealing with overly energetic children.

Te Kirihimete i Whakakorea

Te Kirihimete i Whakakorea is written by Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, and translated by Kawata Teepa. This book’s plot centres around the shocking announcement that Santa has cancelled Christmas! What about the presents? How can we convince Santa to deliver the presents to everyone and save Christmas? The illustrations in this story have a very Kiwiana feel to them and the Te Reo Māori used captures our very distinctive terminology used during this festive holiday.

The book is also a finalist for the Picture Book Award, the Russell Clark Award for Illustration, and the Best First Book Award.

Tio Tiamu

Tio Tiamu is written by Kurahau, with illustrations by Laya Mutton-Rogers. The main character is Tio Tiamu, a giant who, although shunned by his people, shows great compassion and love for them. This story is written in Te Reo and reflects a very traditional Māori way of telling stories, which incorporates Māori values, behaviours, ideologies, and the philosophy of not only developing the readers’ vocabulary but also their awareness of the Māori world.

Aku whakamīha! My praise and acknowledgements!

I would like to thank all of the writers, illustrators, and translators who have created stories for our children. We recognise the time and effort made to create the characters, the stories, the messages but, most of all, the different worlds that allow our children’s minds to explore and find new ways to think creatively about their own world.

The use of Te Reo Māori in these stories gives life to the Māori language and provides an opportunity for all readers to learn more about the language and the Māori culture.

The Te Kura Pounamu Award recognises the commitment to the revitalisation, development, and evolution of Te Reo Māori and its use to tell stories. The five finalists for the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for 2020 are acknowledged for elevating Te Reo Māori in storytelling to the highest level.

Mā tau raurau, mā taku raurau ka ora te iwi.
With your contribution and my contribution, the people will thrive.

Aku whakamīha! My praise and acknowledgement to you all.

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