Storytimes mark week
Wardini Books Napier had a truly Kiwi storytime last Saturday with tales being read in the three languages of Aotearoa New Zealand — Ma¯ ori, English and New Zealand Sign Language.
Co-owner Louise Ward wanted to celebrate Te Wiki o te re o Ma¯ ori in style and enlisted the help of bookshop wha¯ nau.
“One of the first friends I made when I moved to New Zealand from England was Dene Kershaw who is a fluent Ma¯ ori speaker and this proved invaluable in learning correct pronunciation of te reo from the get go. Dene is an entertainer and teacher so was the perfect person to ask to read stories — his telling of Margaret Mahy’s The Lion in the Meadow in Ma¯ ori (He Raiona i roto i nga Otaota) was hugely engaging and had the children roaring enthusiastically at each mention of the Raiona,” Louise says.
Wardini Books has several members of its community with New Zealand Sign Language skills and invites them to sign at its Bedtime Stories sessions, held in the school holidays. Nicki Young works for the Ministry of Education as adviser on deaf children in Hawke’s Bay and with her teaching background also has great rapport with children.
“It was amazing to have Nicki with us for this event. Sign Language is not only essential for our deaf community but a beautifully expressive way for us all to communicate,” Louise says.
The idea behind the trilingual story time was to hold something unique to Aotearoa New Zealand.
“Although many languages are spoken in our wonderfully diverse community, te reo Ma¯ ori is unique to us and the more we use this taonga the more it becomes a part of what we do. We wanted to celebrate Te Wiki o te reo Ma¯ ori with something more than a display of books. Dene and Nicki really brought these stories to life and the children and adults in the audience responded with so much joy — Dene’s game of Tenei/Tena (Simon Says) was hilarious.”
With more and more books being written in or translated into Ma¯ ori there will be plenty more stories to choose from for next year’s celebration.
Tri-lingual storytime was held at Wardini Books.