I have been meaning to continue with my “Wandering with me in Aotearoa” posts, and indeed I will. The next couple of these posts will be of interest to an online buddy of mine from the Children’s Hub as she has been eagerly waiting to hear of the Myths and Legends from my country. So I am delighted to bring you a picture book of the Legend of how Wellington Harbour (our capital city) was created.
The Taniwha of Wellington Harbour
Illustrator: Bruce Potter
Published by: Penquin Group (NZ) January 2011
Ages: 3 – 7 years
Theme: Myth/Legend, Friendship, consequences,
Opening Sentence: In ancient times in Aotearoa, there was a beautiful lake in which there dwelt two monstrous taniwha. Their names were Whataitai and Ngake.
Synopsis: Whataitai and Ngake lived happily in a lake until Ngake got bored and decided to break free to the ocean. His actions splitting the land in two and those of Whataitai who was left to mourn after Ngake had far reaching consequences that can still be seen today in the shape of our capital city.
Why I like it: This is a delightful Maori legend about the shape of Wellington Harbour and the mythical creatures that once called it their home. Children will also delight at the pictures which portray the Taniwha like ancient dinosaurs. The text itself has also been laid out in an interesting manner for young people. The book is available in both English and Te Reo options and the English version not only teaches young readers a bit about Maori myths, legends and history but also some of the language. While Moira delights us in retelling a legend told to her over 30 years ago, Bruce’s blue hue illustrations bring the taniwha leaping and thrashing off the pages.
Resources/Findings: Findings about the many Taniwha’s in an excert of the New Zealand Enclopedia http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/taniwha/2
Excellent storytelling activities and lesson plans for teachers, students that I came across…. http://www.storyarts.org/lessonplans/lessonideas/index.html#songs
A wonderful YouTube…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDCQGwqwrsM
For more books with resources please visit the lovely author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with the books reviewed by many authors.