Book and card game launched to teach te reo
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.
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.