top of page
  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Kia Ora: You Can be a Kiwi too by June Pitman-Hayes,Māori lyrics by Ngaere Roberts

From sing-songwriter June Pitman-Hayes comes this enchanting new waiata for Kiwi tamariki – and anyone new to our shores.

This is a beautiful book, showcasing a simple celebration of community, welcoming with open arms and learning from others.

Tamariki holiday at the beach, splash in water fountains, climb trees and toast marshmallows. Aotearoa’s magnificent beauty and uniqueness is first and foremost. The book showcases all the things we hold dear and invites us to share them with others.

Ngaere Roberts has once again done a stellar job translating the song in to te reo Māori. It’s not often done, but it is lovely to have both versions, English and Māori, within the same book. A glossary inside the back cover is a lovely touch.

Illustrator Minky Stapleton somehow manages to combine simple illustrations that are rich in detail. The pages are bright, cheerful and a great representation of our country. She shows us the beauty of Aotearoa’s many sides – from the country to city, beach to bush, sea to shore.

Children of all nationalities feature within the pictures, as do some of our more well-known tourist attractions – including the Sky Tower, Cromwell’s fruit, Ohakune’s carrot.

A double spread showing tamariki in their national costumes saying hello in their own language sparked an intense conversation with my own children. The diversity seen within our community is present too, with a lovely double spread of families enjoying kai featuring adults of all sizes, shapes, and nationalities – the kuia with a moko kauae a particularly beautiful touch.

It will be a hit within early childhood, kōhanga reo and primary schools and its message will inspire many, many rich learning conversations.

A CD with the song, sung by Pitman-Hayes herself accompanied by a ukelele, in both English and te reo Māori is also included.

The trio – writer, illustrator, and translator – have worked in perfect harmony with each other, which adds to the magic.

This is a gorgeous book and song for the tamariki and whanau of Aotearoa, however it is universal in its message. Diversity, community, respect and caring for each other are at its heart.

A beautiful book, story, and song that will be treasured for many years.

Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

Scholastic, RRP $19.99


bottom of page