A new graphical online-reading platform that retells our pūrākau

By D'Angelo Martin

Sanctuary Āhuru Mōwai is an online-reading platform that tells Māori stories from a graphic novel approach. Developed and created by Māui Studios, they say the platform is an opportunity to give tamariki a unique insight into the tales that were shared with us by our kaumātua.

Māori mythology and fiction novels retold like never before.

Project manager Jordan Tuhura (Ngāti Porou) says this is a new way of telling our stories.

"Back in the day, it was all sorts of just kanohi ki te kanohi, you know, kōrero with each other and that's how our stories were passed down. But I guess with technology and how things are progressing in our world that we live in, we've sort of found a way to put those stories in a different medium."

Launched yesterday, the platform provides rangatahi with an insight into the rich history of Māori culture.

"That's sort of why we wanted to do it this way so that they connect early. And they really want to want to learn this stuff now because of all the art and it's a cool looking way for them to engage in these stories.," Tuhura says.

"We sort of incorporate those other elements as well, that was kind of the idea to make it more appealing to rangatahi, which is the Japanese animation style using those sorts of elements and that classic comic style."

The story of Ranginui and Papatūanuku, the origin of Māui and the journey of Tāne Māhuta are some of the stories that Māui Studios have retold.

"We kind of acknowledge that there's going to be variations between hapū, between iwi, between family or even individuals for some of the details. And for us, it's just about trying to get it as accurate as possible."

The goal for Māui Studios is to continue navigating the possibilities of modern technology to find solutions and pathways for Māori.

"It brings Māori to a different standard and it puts them up here, like this is the new standard for us and everybody has to be up here. And so people can strive for that like, 'these Māori did it, why can't we?' So it's cool being able to push that agenda and being at the forefront of being able to provide a new way of doing things."

In the weeks to come, some new novels will be added to the platform.