Childrens' books immortalise Ngāti Te Ata superheroes

By Aroha Mane

The superheroes, magical animals and fauna of Ngāti Te Ata have been immortalised in a series of books, waiata, haka, and art in South Auckland. The project is called Te Manurewa o Tamapahore, a collective dream from the community launched today at Clendon Park School.

Bringing life to the histories of a South Auckland iwi through waiata, books and art.

Primary school teacher Teariki Tuiono had a dream to have a resource that could teach the children of Manurewa about the superheroes from their own community. So with the local iwi, the community and the children he created five books.

Uenuku book. Source - File.

“There is a lot of superheroes in there, I mean we're in Ngāti Te Ata territory, Te Ata-i-Rehia. If you look at the five books, the first on is Uenuku, the next book is Kaiwhare, with a beautiful whale, a beautiful Orca, There is also ngā Urunga-o-Huatau, looking at the lemonwood trees There is also Kaeaea, people will love Kaeaea which is the New Zealand falcon,” says visionary Teariki Tuiono.

Kaiwhare book. Source - File.

Tuiono says he is grateful to the leaders of Ngāti Te Ata who were the key drivers behind this project.

Ngāti Te Ata representative Roimata Minhinnick says, “We want the children to absorb it all. It also provides a sense of belonging for those who live here. It's our legends, our landscapes, our celestial beings, and even our own unique dialect. One of the stories is a fond memory of my late mother. All credit to the creators.”

Manurewa MP Louisa Wall says these books are a tool that will help the community navigate through unconscious bias and racism.

Manurewa MP Louisa Wall, “What I am expecting from these books and from the waiata, is that the sense of belonging that we will have as a community living here in Manurewa will strengthen us and make us resilient and strong.”

This isn't the end, Tuiono has plans to launch an edition for primary and intermediate, and maybe even digital.