Book Review: Taka Ki Ro Wai – He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Tētāhi Hoiho, by Keri Kaa, illustrated by Martin D Page

web_TAKA-KI-RO-WAI_Cover_Tania&Martin_2013_PROMOAvailable in bookstores nationwide, this is the winner of the inaugural Maori Language Award in the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. 

This Māori language, 59 page picture book is an amazing compilation of story, artwork and photography, decorated and enhanced with examples of Māori weaving and carving patterns.

Publisher Tania was kind enough to relate the story to me in English (I am not bilingual) which I can summarise for you. As a Māori reader, you will get more out of the book than I can, so bear with me.

It is the true story of a rural home, surrounded by farmland, in the area of Ngati Porou, on which after an extremely rainy stormy night, the woman of the house looking out her window realises her mare is in difficulties. On closer investigation, she sees the mare has foaled overnight. The foal is still trapped in the birth sac, and in such deep water the mare cannot assist it to break free.

Friends come to help; they drag the foal onto higher ground, wrap it in a blanket with the hopes of saving the exhausted foal, who is very cold after being submerged in water. The mare is incapable of anything, so exhausted is she after birthing in the night and struggling in the flooded paddock.

The mare has shared her paddock with a pig, and is used to its smell. The pig comes to the foal, and tears open the birth sac. It licks then rubs against the foal, for so long it tires and drops to rest in exhaustion. It returns to the foal and now starts treading with its forelegs on its back, until finally the foal comes alive. The mare returns, and coaxes the foal to stand and feed.

This book is a strong mixture of the expertise of the story teller and of the illustrator. Every page has its own significance to te tikanga Māori, to rural communities, and to – especially – spell-bound children.

The publishers have assured me there is a solid intention to produce an English language version in the future. I will happily announce that here when it happens.

Translations of the front cover (thanks to publisher Tania)…
Main Title – Taka Kiro Wai = Fell in the water
Sub-title – He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Tētāhi Hoiho = A story about a horse
(Yellow circle sub-subtitle – He Kōrero Pūrākau Tūturu Tēnei = This is a true story

Reviewed by Lynne McAnulty-Street, published originally on her review blog here. 

Taka Ki Ro Wai – He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Tētāhi Hoiho
Author Keri Kaa
Artist Martin D Page
Publication 2013 by Tania&Martin, Rotorua NZ
ISBN 9780473184063

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