The Great Wardini book recommendations

Art & Culture
By   Pip   -  June 1 / 2022
Written by Louise Ward


For the first time, our country will honour Matariki – unity, renewal, celebration, and hope. Although there are many lovely books on Matariki, the publishers of Aotearoa New Zealand
have responded early, and well to the official celebrations beginning this year, with some stellar titles out now for all ages and stages.

Our Matariki public holiday presents us with an opportunity to connect with each other, with the whenua, and with ourselves and as always, there are books to help.


Matariki hunga nui – Matariki brings us together.

Kitty Brown and Kirsten Parkinson’s picture book Matariki (Allen & Unwin, $22.99) invites us to look to the stars. In simple prose it lays out the nine stars of Matariki that are visible to the eye, and what each signifies. It brings home the beauty of the celebration with gorgeous illustrations – eels for waitī, freshwater places that bring us food, pōhutukawa for remembrance of those who have passed on. The authors share their own practice with one word a page, letting the illustrations speak, then go into more detail in an addendum.
Perfect for young families to share.

Order your copy here.

Rangi Mātāmua sits on the Matariki Advisory Group that oversees our nationwide celebration and he has teamed up with Miriama Kamo to research and produce this beautiful hardback picture book, illustrated magnificently by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White. Matariki Around the World: A Cluster of Stars, a Cluster of Stories (Scholastic, $35) reaches out into the world for not only Aotearoa’s Matariki stories but those of other cultures that have lived by and referenced this particular cluster of stars for generations. It really is a beauty, a book for families to share and individuals to pore over.

Order your copy here

Who better to teach us through story than Witi Ihimaera? The Astromancer (Puffin, $25) is a new chapter book for readers of about 8 and up and is chock full of danger, heroes, old
wisdom and new blood. The Astromancer is looking for four apprentices to learn the ways of Matariki and Maramataka, the strong connection between the moon and our wellbeing.
Aria is a young girl with great promise; she carries hurts and scars and is inseparable from her smelly dog, known as Kuri. Can she put aside her anger and learn enough to save the
tribe? Illustrated throughout, again by Isobel Te Aho-White, this is an action adventure story where we learn in the best way – by being thoroughly absorbed in a wonderful story.

Order your copy here

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