Tamariki' fave' book gets te reo Māori translation

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

The bestselling children's book I Need a New Bum was written by Dawn McMillan and illustrated by Ross Kinnaird and was first published 10 years ago. It has been translated into Chinese, Italian, Korean and Portuguese. Now a new translation will 'bring the bum home’ to Aotearoa.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the book, Stephanie Huriana Fong, of Kōrero Mai and The Ring INZ fame too, has translated the book into te reo Māori (Kia Hou Taku Tou), just in time for Mahuru Māori and te wiki o te reo Māori.

The Pae Tū director and Māori language consultant of Te Rarawa descent says she wanted to translate the book as she and her own tamariki were fans of Dawn McMillan stories. Before lockdown, Fong was contacted by publisher Oratia Books to do that.

Lockdown proved a challenge for Fong, who said she and Dawn McMillan were meant to meet before the translation began.

“In terms of the actual translation itself, what’s really fabulous about Dawn’s books, in general, is she writes and rhymes. It’s really catchy and I think it’s one of the key things that draws our tamariki into her stories.

“It also adds a layer of difficulty when you are translating because you are not only tasked with translating the essence of te reo Pākehā into te reo Māori… you have that added layer of difficulty where you’ve got to make te reo Māori rhyme, otherwise it’s not quite as fun.”

She revealed that she and her whānau have not registered for the reo Māori Challenge for Mahuru Māori for one reason: “We live ao noa, pō noa Māori.

“We speak te reo Māori in our home so I spend my time demonstrating that for my tamariki and we don’t limit our challenge to a week, a day or a month.

“I wouldn’t mind challenging myself, as I think Paraone [Gloyne] intended when he first came up with the whakaaro for Mahuru Māori, whereby I would talk only in te reo Māori as a way to identify where I may have some weak points in my reo and therefore be able to work on improving it.”