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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Te Reo Kapekape - Māori Wit And Humour by Hona Black

Want to know how to call someone 'one book short of a bookshelf', or tell them to get stuffed in te reo Māori? Readers can find the answers in Te Reo Kapekape - literally the language of poking fun.

Fans of author Hona Black know what to expect with his latest book. As in his excellent first book He Iti Te Kupu, Te Reo Kapekape features explanations, examples and suggestions for the use of more than 130 Māori phrases. The layout of his books are perfect, with te reo Māori on one page and English on the opposite. This makes the books accessible to speakers of both languages no matter their fluency.

I have many fond memories of listening to fluent te reo Māori speakers use te reo kapekape growing up. It's what sets fluent speakers apart - being able to tease, crack a joke or simply add some spice to your reo effortlessly.

This new book takes me back to those days, and is a fantastic resource that has helped me have fun with the language and build my skills.

There are some phrases that will no doubt make people blush, and Black includes some helpful history lessons alongside his explanations.

The bright pink cover and fun design of the book's title adds to the fun found within its pages. Don't skip over Black's introduction, which continues important information and context, a sort of 'how-to' to use the book and an introduction to the cast of characters he uses within. An index and space to write your own notes make this a valuable, useable resource.

As Black writes in his introduction, he hopes the book will allow us to see the Māori world's "beauty, hear its magnificence, and die of laughter." As Black warns, if the book is not verbalised, if te reo Māori is not spoken, it would have been to no avail. Read it, then use the language.

We all have a part to play in keeping te reo Māori alive. Te Reo Kapekape is an incredible resource to ensure that the language of tongue-in-cheek becomes a language of every day again, to allow us to once again laugh through the reo.

Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell



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