Review: Tāwhirimātea: A Song for Matariki, by June Pitman-Hayes, illustrations Kat Merewether

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_TawhirimateaMatariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades, and for many Māori it heralds the start of a new year. This title has been released just in time for 2017’s Matariki celebrations.

Māori mythology and Matariki are woven together to tell a story of the seasons. Each page is dedicated to celebrating our Earth, sky, seasons and whanau. The text flows and rhymes its way across each page, moulding with the illustrations effortlessly. It’s a beautiful waiata and June Pitman-Hayes has been perfectly matched up with Kat Merewether to illustrate. Kat’s drawings are vibrant and full of meaning.

‘Tawhirimatea, blow winds blow. Ra, warm us up with your sunshine glow’.

Having Maori words integrated with English in the first half, and then the whole story retold in te reo in the second half is a great way to encourage young readers to explore both languages.

This book doesn’t disappoint and there is lots to look at on every page. My daughter and I spent ages pouring over each page, exploring them. It was fun to read aloud – or sing aloud rather – and a bonus that you can listen to the CD too, which is a beautiful addition to the book.

Reviewed by Nyssa Walsh

Tawhirimatea: A Song for Matariki
by June Pitman-Hayes, illustrations by Kat Merewether
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775434139


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