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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Nanny Mihi's Medicine - Ngā Rongoā a Nanny Mihi by Melanie Drewery


When her grandchildren arrive for the school holidays with colds, Nanny Mihi leads them to the forest and garden to find remedies - kawakawa for tea, mānuka for the bath, koromiko for headaches, and cabbage tree leaves for cuts and scratches.

By the time the children are well, Nanny is tired and scratched from their foraging — and the kids know just what she needs.


This is the third Nanny Mihi book by author Melanie Drewery (Ngāti Mutunga) and the first in the series to be fully bilingual. Kanapu Rangitauira (Te Arawa, Ngāti Porou, Te Whakatōhea) translated the story to te reo Māori.


I loved how the English text still includes te reo Māori words and phrases - with a simple footnote to help those learning the language.


The story is a simple introduction to the principles of tikanga Māori, and Drewery makes it a whānau affair, showing activities that readers can also engage in easily. Nanny Mihi's loving respect for her grandchildren also shows readers the beauty of intergenerational relationships.


A double page spread, also bilingual, gives details about the medicines growing around us. We love reading Drewery's Koro's Medicine and together with Nanny Mihi, the books offer a wonderful introduction to rongoā Māori. It's important knowledge and Drewery's desire to share what she knows and inspirer the younger generation is evident.


The first Nanny Mihi book was published more than two decades ago, and Nanny has undergone another 'facelift' with Suzanne Simpson illustrating the book. She pays homage to the originals, with older readers still able to recognise the beloved Nanny.

Once again, Drewery and Nanny show younger readers the power of nature, helping to nurture a deeper connection with our environment.


Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell

Oratia Books, RRP $19.99


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