Learning Te Reo with kids

Hairy Maclary Colours cover

More and more of us are celebrating Matariki, want to learn Te Reo and find out more about Maori culture. Picture books are an easy and enjoyable way to share the learning with our children and grandchildren.

Hairy Maclary Colours coverLearning Te Reo with Hairy Mclary

In these two little board books Lynley Dodd has used that loveable little rascal Hairy Mclary and his gang of canine friends to teach little ones their colours and numbers in Te Reo Maori.

On each double page spread the words appear on one side in Maori and English and on the other is one of Lynley Dodd’s comical illustrations.

Hairy Mclary plays the leading role but the rest of the gang: Slinky Malinky, Scarface Claw, Schnitzel von Krum, Bitzer Maloney, Muffin Mclay, Bottomley Potts and Herculus Morse also make an appearance.

Hairy Maclary and Friends 123

There was just one small mystery I needed to solve. Why was there a large cockatoo on the first page of the number book? A quick search on the net and I discovered that Lynley Dodd was once asked to impersonate Scarface Claw, the toughest Tom in town, during a radio interview in Australia. A listener called in to say that on hearing the loud screech her cockatoo had a big fright and fell off its perch! Maybe that was the answer?!

These two little books may lack the rhymes and rhythm which make Lynley Dodd’s story books so enjoyable to read out loud. But little ones will enjoy her amusing illustrations as they learn their first words in Te Reo with you.

Hairy Mclary and Friends: Colours in Maori and English and Hairy Mclary and Friends: 123 in Maori and English are by Lynley Dodd. Imprint: Puffin Boardbook. RRP: Each book $12.99

The Treaty of WaitangiThe Treaty of Waitangi /Te Tiriti O Waitangi

Toby Morris knew very little about the Treaty of Waitangi when he was young. Waitangi Day was just an excuse for him to have a day off school, a day for beach cricket and waterbomb battles . Beyond that the Treaty did not seem to affect him much. But older and wiser now he has recognised that the Treaty is one of the most important parts of our history .’It’s about all of us, and this means we all need to understand it,” he says.’

In his comic strip he takes us on a journey from the very beginning of our history  to the events which led up to signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and what happened afterwards.

Included are annotated pages of the two versions of the Treaty, one in English and one in Maori, to show the significant differences which gave rise to serious problems and conflict  and progressively led to Maori losing much of their land, language and culture.

Recognising that past wrongs need to be put right, and that compensation should be paid for land unjustly taken, the Government set up The Waitangi Tribunal in 1975. This was a step in the right direction and is helping Maori to build better futures but, as Toby Morris points out, there is much more  to be done yet before all the damage that was done is fixed.

Many of us are puzzled and sometimes somewhat annoyed that Waitangi Day, which is supposed to be national day of celebration, is often used as a platform to express anger and frustration.

This little book, in which Toby Morris has managed to pack in a surprisingly large amount of information and to explain the Treaty of Waitangi in a factual non-confrontational way, is a good way to build our understanding and tolerance. I’d recommend it for both children and adults.

As Toby Morris comments “We all want a country which is fair to everyone, to me that’s what the Treaty is all about.”

The Treaty of Waitangi/ Te Tiriti o Waitangi is written by Toby Morris with Ross Calman, Mark Derby and Piripi Walker. Publisher: Lift Education RRP $20. It is a reoruo (bilingual) comic strip flip-book.

Reviews by Lyn Potter

Parent and grandparent, Avid traveler, writer & passionate home cook

Read more by Lyn here.