Māui – Sun Catcher, by Tim Tipene

Every New Zealander should already know the myth of Māui and how he tamed the sun with the help of his brothers. This modern bilingual retelling of the story will bring the story to life for younger readers.

Award-winning author and illustrator team Tim Tipene and Zak Waipara set the modern Māui as a schoolboy who lives with his mother and four older brothers in a city where the day is never long enough to get things done. The curse of modern living inspires Māui to make a woven flax net, and drive, with his brothers, to the pit where the sun lives and make their play to slow the day.

The story and pictures come together beautifully to refresh this legend in a bright, vibrant and modernised telling. There are clever details in the pictures – I loved the modern superhero costumes the boys wear – and Tipene has done a wonderful job holding on to the important elements of the story while giving it a makeover.

Rotorua-based musician and academic Rob Ruha was on hand to translate the story into te reo Māori. It is lovely to see both Māori and English together on the same pages, rather than separated into individual books. Those young bilingual readers and learners of te reo will benefit immensely from having both texts side by side.

Māui – Sun Catcher marks the first book in the international children’s series Indigenous Voices. It is so cleverly and beautifully done, it sets the mark high for the remainder of the series. A wonderful book that will brings an old favourite into the 21st Century ready to inspire the next generation.

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TITLE: Māui – Sun Catcher
AUTHOR(S): Tim Tipene
ILLUSTRATOR: Zak Waipara
PUBLISHER: Oratia Books
RRP: $24.99
ISBN: 9780947506148

Rebekah is an Otago-based mother of two young girls. The former journalist and primary school teacher has a soft spot for New Zealand authors and young adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter.

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