Tani­wha in­cludes Ma¯ori

The Tani­wha in our Back­yard By Mal­colm Paterson, il­lus­trated by Martin Bai­ley, Ora­tia Books, $21.99

The Northern Advocate - - 48 Hours/books - — Linda Thomp­son

This chil­dren’s book is some­thing a bit spe­cial.

The story is de­light­ful and well suited to an older child who is be­com­ing a com­pe­tent reader and likes a good story.

What makes this one dif­fer­ent though, is that it uses a lot of Ma¯ori words through­out the English, side by side. Many words and phrases are fa­mil­iar, like mı¯haro ke¯ [amaz­ing], awa [stream], pakeke [adults], karakia [prayer], Whaea [Aun­tie].

And if they’re not fa­mil­iar, the English con­text makes them easy to guess for both adults and chil­dren. If you can’t guess, the phrases, all use­ful, are at the bot­tom of each page in small let­ters for cheat­ing.

The story is in­ter­est­ing — Tui and his wha¯nau go to the south Kaipara to visit their un­cle and aunt. As they ex­plore they learn about kaiti­ak­i­tanga [stew­ard­ship], Ma¯ui dol­phins and of course the tani­wha.

There’s some help­ful in­for­ma­tion about kauri dieback and how to pre­vent it, cul­tural norms, ge­ol­ogy and even a bit about Malay. What makes this spe­cial is in­cor­po­rat­ing Ma¯ori lan­guage into ev­ery­day con­ver­sa­tion, just as it should be, along with English. My grand­kids do it all the time. This is the third in the Shar­ing Our Sto­ries se­ries about NZ her­itage. Ka pai!

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