Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Nga Atua: Maori Gods Robyn Kahukiwa

 Nga Atua: Maori Gods  Robyn Kahukiwa (text & ill)   
Oratia Books (2017)
32 pages, Hardback NZ$25
ISBN 978 0 947506 26 1

This book fills a need so perfectly that it is hard to know why nobody thought of it before. Our
bookshelves are full of books retelling Maori myths and legends but this is the first book to provide a simple guide to the Polynesian pantheon.
Robyn Kahukiwa has brought together her colourful illustrations of the key gods and her equally dramatic pen portraits of their personalities and powers.
She doesn’t retell the classic myths; instead she describes some of the key participants.
Hinemoana is a powerful being. She looks after the sea with Tangaroa.’ The accompanying illustration shows Hinemoana underwater, shimmering in shades of blue and green, arm-in-arm with a taniwha. Both look as if they had just stepped off the wall panel of a meeting house. The result is a lively and attractive introduction to the gods who figure so largely in our shared mythology, our place-names, our traditions and our culture.
In creating this book as a special gift for her then six-year-old grandson, Kahu, Robyn Kahukiwa has also made a special taonga for all young New Zealanders.

Trevor Agnew
22 June 2017

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