Going wild with te reo . . . to the Max
It has a special place in Te Kahureremoa Taumata's childhood memories, and now she is proud to present the Maori-translated version of Where the Wild Things Are at the NZ Festival's Writers Week.
The book, by Maurice Sendak, has become a childhood classic all over the world, telling the tale of Max and the wild things who "roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth".
The Maori version, Kei Reira nga Weriweri, has been published by Hui Publishers.
Taumata, a mother of three who grew up in a te reo-speaking home in Wainuiomata, recently began running her own business teaching Maori-focused education programmes to mainstream schools.
"I'm really passionate about Maori culture and that te reo Maori is not only something that should be taught in schools, but to a real quality," she says.
"I feel like giving kids a positive experience with Maori culture will have an impact in how they see it later in life, planting seeds of positive influence."
She likes to teach primarily through song, art and storytelling, a strength she was keen to share at Writers Week after friends at Hui Publishers put her name forward to host the event.
"We are really big on reading in my family, we have a huge selection of te reo books and we are trying really hard to make sure that this is a bilingual home, and I liked the idea of a challenge for people to read to their kids in Maori to keep the language alive."
Taumata is saving her effective storytelling wisdom for the show tomorrow but agreed to let Festival Day in on two top tips.
"When it comes to storytelling, you don't need to put on voices or be overdramatic, especially if you're not that type of person.
"You can be excited but kids are perceptive in that manner, they can pick up on your true nature so don't fake it."
Another important tip is to try to see the magic in the story as one would have as a child.
"I hope that if people come along they will be inspired not just to read to their children but to begin their journey learning te reo Maori and go away with a fire in their bellies to help the language survive, because it is for all New Zealanders."
Learn more tips about reading to children and philosophies about reading te reo Maori on Sunday, 10.45am at Hannah Playhouse, Courtenay Place. Tickets $10-$18 at ticketek.co.nz.
The Dominion Post