Book and card game launched to teach te reo

Bay News - - NEWS -

Tau­ranga’s Tom­myWil­son has cre­ated a new chil­dren’s book and card game to help peo­ple learn about and pro­nounceMa¯ori place names across the coun­try.

His colour­ing book Koha: The Kids Colour­ing Book of Aotearoa and card game Koha: AGift of Knowl­edge was blessed at the site be­hind Z petrol sta­tion in Beth­le­hem on Satur­day.

The card game was a “na­tion­alised ver­sion” of the game he launched three years ago, which he de­signed with his friend Awanuia¯rangi Black, who died in 2016.

That ver­sion of the game fea­tured marae, iwi and hapu¯ across the Bay of Plenty.

The new ver­sion fo­cuses on learn­ing te reo place names and their cor­rect pro­nun­ci­a­tion for re­gions through­out the coun­try.

Wil­son said the book and card game were away of nor­mal­is­ing the lan­guage for peo­ple to un­der­stand what was in their own back yard.

“It brings our two cul­tures to­gether. There is a gen­uine thirst and ap­petite by main­stream New Zealand, Aotearoa, to con­nect with the in­dige­nous cul­ture of this land,” he said.

“Place names are a win­dow into the lan­guage and the lan­guage is awin­dow into the cul­ture.”

Wil­son, who has au­thored more than 30 chil­dren’s books, said when he pub­lished his first chil­dren’s book Ka­pai the Kiwi in 1993 there were very few re­sources that could teach main­stream classes the mean­ing of place names and their pro­nun­ci­a­tion.

The project was im­por­tant to him be­cause his mother, Kitty Wil­son, went to Te Puna school and was pun­ished for speak­ing te reo.

“Now my daugh­ter Wai­whakaata, she has won the Ma¯ori speech con­test in the same school,” he said. “That is how far we have come.”

Wil­son said the game­was ded­i­cated to his mother and wife Sarah Tan­gitu “who made sure our daugh­ter learned the lan­guage”.

Graphic de­signer An­drea Keast said the book had to ap­peal to aw­ide au­di­ence and was care­fully put to­gether by her son Mi­lanWil­shier, who de­signed the me­chan­ics of the game.

Keast was ex­cited to fi­nally re­veal their­months of hard work to the pub­lic.

Vis­ual artist El­liot Ma­son the game’s art­work fea­tured the kahu, or hawk, as well as the back­ground pat­tern of ocean cur­rents to sym­bol­ise move­ment and trav­el­ling.

PHO­TOS / AN­DREW WARNER

El­liot Ma­son, Tommy Wil­son, An­drea Keast and Mi­lan Wil­shier.

Tuara Rahiri, 9, meets Tommy Wil­son and re­ceives a signed copy of the card game and colour­ing book.

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