Harry Potter and The Alchemist find a home in te reo Māori audiobooks

By Stefan Dimitrof

Keen readers can now listen to popular books Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and The Alchemist in te reo Māori audiobooks.

The Kotahi Rau Pukapuka Trust was started in 2019 with the goal of producing 100 great books in te reo Māori and the two new books are a part of meeting that goal.

Narrator Pānia Papa, who is also the chief executive of Kotahi Rau Pukapuka, said releasing these stories in te reo was essential because the rhythm and nuances of the spoken word were effectively communicated in the audiobook format.

Hare Pota me te Whatu Manapou was narrated by Papa, and Tiare Ttawera, a long-standing voice artist, does all the voices for the characters in the book.

“We interchange between the narration and the characters, which is something different for audio books where audiobooks are read by one particular narrator.”

The Alchemist is one of the books that has been translated into most of the languages in the world but Papa said that instead of being translated from English into Māori, it was suggested that the novel be translated from its native language Portuguese.

“So Hemi Kelly was our translator for that particular title and he has some connections in South America, particularly with the Portuguese language, and so he was able to work with those people and refine his translation.”

Papa said that the journey of making the audiobook was a difficult one and said “it’s a difficult task reading te reo Māori. Those who have any kind of reading out loud or any kind of lesson programme of learning will know it’s a tricky skill to master”.

Papa said JK Rowling's style of writing, which was translated by Warren Blake, was quite difficult to translate into te reo Māori.