book cover

Pūrākau: Māori Myths Retold by Māori Writers

A review of Pūrākau: Māori Myths Retold by Māori Writers

Read More

Edited by Witi Ihimaera and Whiti Hereaka (Penguin Random House NZ)

Pūrākau is a rich collection of gems from Māori writers, Māori poets and Māori artists. Short stories and poems are carefully arranged to take the  reader on a journey along the tokotoko of the kaikōrero, using residual and long-held beliefs and understandings that are immediately turned upside-down – in a good way.

The story of Ranginui and Papatūānuku becomes the story of a  dysfunctional family, with all the embellishments that situation creates in a contemporary context. The whānau of Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga live in an apartment with their single mother. Māui the trickster visits Hollywood as an ex-rugby league player cut from the NRL, while Hinepūkohurangi encourages Uenuku to explore his artistic talents. Kaitiaki see the future and provide advice going forward. Taniwha battle Ātua on behalf of the humans in their care, while Patupaiarehe, Ponaturi and Tūrehu attend a City Council meeting to advocate against a proposed housing project on their whenua.

Lessons are interspersed throughout Pūrakau, along with opportunities to apply the whakaaro of old to everyday living. An interesting and easy read that promotes Māori stories as actual events within Māori history, here and in Hawaiki.


Reviewed by Laures Park

Related Posts

Empowering students to build community

In a school with dozens of cultures and languages, equipping and empowering students to coach, guide and befriend their ESOL peers has huge benefits for all involved.

At Christchurch’s Ilam School, 12 children in Year 6 are appointed as Cultural Leaders.

Read More

Kapa haka student leaders

Two student leaders of kapa haka at Kapanui School, Waikanae explain why they like it.

Read More

Teaching in a community new to you

A new teacher gives some advice to others starting work in a new community.

Read More

Kiana Ria
Home has been my classroom

Ko Manawaru, Matiti, Maungahaumia, Ahititi, Hikurangi me Rangipoua ngā maunga.  Ko Te Ārai, Maraetaha, Waipaoa, Waihirere, Waiapu me Hāparapara ngā awa. Ko Horouta, Tākitimu me Mātaatua ngā waka. Ko Manutuke, Muriwai, Mangatu, Parihimanihi, Whareponga, Tū Auau me Otuwhare ngā marae. Ko Ngāti Kaipoho, ko Rangi i Waho Matua, ko Ngāti Taua, ko Ngāti Kohuru, ko Te Aitanga-a-Mate, ko Ngāti Rangi, ko Te Whānau-a-Rutaia ngā hapu. Ko Rongowhakaata, ko Ngāi Tamanuhiri, ko Te Aitanga a Mahaki, ko Ngāti Porou, ko Te Whānau-a-Apanui ngā iwi. Ko Kiana Ria Renata-Kokiri toku ingoa. 17 oku tau. Ko Manutuke taku tūrangawaewae. Child of the mist, Tame Iti, says that “history has woven us together. We are the basket, the kete, that holds the future!” As a young Māori woman, I have experienced both mainstream and kura kaupapa education. School is often a difficult and confusing time for me. I often question its purpose. Referring to our country’s curriculum, Dr Muriel Newman states that “the vision statement affirms that young people will work to create an Aotearoa New Zealand, in which Māori and Pākeha recognise each other as full Treaty partners.” I don’t believe this statement has any truth. Even in the kura kaupapa setting in

Read More