Book Review: Maui and other Maori Legends: 8 Classic Tales of Aotearoa, by Peter Gossage

Available now in bookshops nationwide.

cv_maui_and_other_maori_legendsThis bind-up collects eight classic Maori myths, the original picture books of which form some of my most visual memories from when I was a child. Six of the books that are reproduced here were published between 1975 and 1985, with the others from the early 2000’s. I remember clearly, sitting on the floor of the library at St Brigid’s Primary School, poring over these potent celebrations of Maori mythology, spellbound by the swirling style of the art within.

The first six of these stories are based on the mythology of Maui, arguably our most famous cultural ancestor. Many wonderful authors and illustrators have ensured our Maori mythology has endured, but Gossage’s bold, colourful art is the real joy of this collection, while his lyrical tellings are a pleasure to read aloud.

But Maui was still alive!
The wave children of Tangaroa and Hine-moana bore him on their backs.
The clouds shielded him from the fierce sun,
and Tawhiri the wind cooled him.

This collection is published beautifully by Penguin, and the handy bookmark ribbon has been a source of entertainment to my son Dan, who has happily started reading it to himself, making sure to keep his place with the ribbon provided.

My family is Pakeha, and my children’s main access to Maori myth is in essential books like this. It is a joy to re-read these old favourites and share them with my children. Please make sure you have this book in your library; it is still relevant and important.

Maui and other Maori Legends: 8 Classic Tales of Aotearoa
by Peter Gossage
Published by Penguin NZ
ISBN 9780143309291

Book review: The Giant of Lake Wakatipu written and illustrated by Peter Gossage

This book is in bookstores now.

The arrival of this book for me to review couldn’t have come at a better time. I was flying the next day to Queenstown to spend a few days with my eldest daughter and her four children, who are of Ngai Tahu descent.

Sitting in my daughter’s lounge looking through the large picture window at the Remarkables mountain range and reading this rather lovely version of this Maori legend, to two of my granddaughters, Eden (5 1/2 years) and Isabelle (11 years) felt pretty special. Beautifully illustrated, the story made a huge impression on Eden. A long discussion followed with Eden retelling the story to me, while looking at the pictures.

The story follows Manata, a beautiful young woman who goes missing from her village. The people search everywhere for her. Manata’s lover Matakauri then sets off to try and rescue her after he discovers she has been kidnapped by Matau, the giant, who lives in the snow capped mountains.

This is a beautiful book with fabulous illustrations and would make a wonderful gift. This book is suitable for children six months right through to children being read to or reading it for themselves. Matakauri knows that his village will not be safe until the giant is dead.

Highly recommended

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

The Giant of Lake Wakatipu
Written and illustrated by Peter Gossage
Published by Puffin
ISBN  9780143505600