A meaningful and inspiring read, Iris Moffat
January 16, 2023
Kia Kaha: A Storybook of Māori Who Changed the World, by Stacey Morrison and Jeremy Sherlock, is by far one of my favourite books.
Each page tells a meaningful, true story about some carefully chosen Māori who stood up and cared about what was right. Along with each story, there is a beautiful illustration that shows the person’s personality. Most of these stories have been forgotten, deleted from our history. Kia Kaha shows that standing up for what’s right may have consequences, such as losing your job, being arrested, or being forgotten. Now, because of Kia Kaha, these people are remembered.
From Mike King to Stan Walker, artists to politicians, tāne to wāhine, Kia Kaha includes a wide range of famous and forgotten Māori who changed the world. Their way of changing the world is also different from what you might think. For example, the Māori Women’s Welfare League helped whānau and tamariki to have houses, good healthcare, education and jobs, while Rangi Mātāmua helped people understand the stars, and what each one means.
Things that I particularly like about this book are the beautiful illustrations, and the world-changing stories. It made me realise that by speaking up, you can make a change. That if you are brave, have some mana and tell people what you think, you can make a change. It also made me understand more about how unfair the world has been to Māori. And that by just standing up for something, it can change.
I would recommend this book for ten years and up. Although there is nothing inappropriate, I think anyone younger wouldn’t understand and get the full meaning of this book. I think it would be a perfect book to flick in and out of. I also think that this book would be perfect for a classroom. You don’t need to read the chapters in order so dipping into it is perfect.
As well as the story and illustrations, each character has a phrase with their profile. For example, Maui’s is, “He rangi tā matawhāiti, he rangi tā matawhānui.” Or “ A person with narrow vision sees restrictions, a person with wide vision sees opportunities. Another example is Pineāmine Taiapa, who is a carver. His is “Ko te maumahara kore ki ngā whakapapa o ōu mātua tīpuna, e rite ana ki te pūkaki awa kāore ōna hikuawa, ki te rākau rānei kāore ōna pakiaka.” Or, “to forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without its roots.”
The two authors of this book are Stacey Morrison and Jeremy Sherlock. Their aim for this book is to show everyone that even when things are hard, even when things are scary, stand up for whatever reason you need to stand up for something, even if other people have different opinions.
Altogether this book is an amazing must-read for anyone who wants to know more about the Māori who have been forgotten because they were standing up for something that other people didn’t like. It really shows that through culture, creativity and wonder, anybody can change the world. Kia kaha.
- Iris lives in Nelson.