I'm proud to be a New Zealander. I know we haven't got it all right here but we do have a voice and it is a unique voice that comes from a unique culture.
At high school I studied Maori and I did History and the only real history of NZ I got in all those 5 years was The Treaty of Waitangi. The Treaty is an incredible important document for us as a country but there is more to us. Maybe things have changed but I think a lot of the heroes and defining times of our (relatively) young country are woefully untaught. There are names I know (of both Maori and Pakeha) but there are few stories I am actually familiar with (and I'm not counting recent sporting exploits, I'm talking about the stories of the suffragettes, the leaders, the nation shapers... the Whina Coopers and Kate Sheppards). The stories of my history and my culture that I could actually share with confidence are limited to basic facts and not complete re-tellings. I know many Maori legends, I know a reasonable amount about The Treaty and Sir Edmund Hillary....and then it's just snatched facts and tidbits.
So, I was thrilled to receive 'Remember that November'. A beautiful book about a very, very beautiful and tragic event in our own history. The book is available in both English and Maori, and is a finalist in the NZ Post Children's Book Awards. This book shifts our focus on the 5th of November at the houses of parliament (England) to a place called Parihaka in Taranaki.
Because I wanted to do a different kind of review I've read the book for you. (Just in English my Maori is pretty rusty). I am thrilled to have a copy of the Maori version to giveaway to a reader. Just leave a comment and I'll draw a winner. Special thanks to my brother in law for putting the pictures and audio together and adding in a little extra musical magic. It takes a few seconds to start:
As New Zealanders I think it's wonderful for us to be producing beautiful books that we can feel proud of. Books that are purely for entertainment and books that tell the stories of our history. I think we owe it to ourselves and our story tellers to read New Zealand books, to buy NZ books and to have them in our shelves - proud of the talent that grows here in our amazing country. I leave you with my favourite quote from the book.
Be you steadfast in all that is peaceful - Te Whiti
Me mau tonu ki te maungarongo - Te Whiti
To have a look at what the judges thought and the other finalists go here.
Remember that November - by Jennifer Beck and Lindy Fisher translated into Maori by Kawata Teepa