Great Te Reo Māori Reads for Kids!

Kia ora tamariki mā, pākeke mā! We’re sure you already know that all of our libraries have special sections where you can find books written in te reo Māori, with reorua (bilingual) books mixed in as well. What you might not know is that these sections have been growing, fast! Recently, and especially over the last few years, there have been many more books being written in te reo, some of which are translations of stories that already existed in other languages, and some of which are being written originally in te reo by tangata whenua authors. All of these gorgeous new books are so exciting to see, and we love to buy lots of copies for all of our libraries when they come out — but even more, we love to see those books being borrowed by you, the tamariki of Te Whanganui-ā-Tara!

To help you make that crucial choice of which book to borrow, and with Te Wiki o te Reo Māori being in full swing, we thought that we would share with you some of our favourite pukapuka in te reo Māori. Check them out next time you visit your local whare pukapuka, or use the links below to place a reserve on the ones you want most!

Ngake me Whātaitai / Ngaia, Ben
“A traditional story told in te reo Māori from the perspective of the Kāhui Maunga people about Ngake and Whātaitai. These two taniwha inhabited Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington Harbour, long before the ancestral migrations. The story tells how the shape and landscape of Wellington, its harbour and the Lower Hutt area came about because of the actions of Ngake and Whātaitai.” (Catalogue)

Aroha te whai ora : he mahere piropiro mā te tamariki / Phillips, Craig
“Nau mai, hoake tātou ko Aroha, i a ia e kaupare ana i te taiatea, i te mataku, i te māharahara, me te anipā, ki ana tukanga māmā ka taea e te katoa. Come along on a journey with Aroha as she wards off nervousness, fear, worrying thoughts and apprehension, with simple, yet effective tools that everyone can use.” (Catalogue)

Kei hea a Spot? / Hill, Eric
“Join Sally, Spot’s mum, on her search to find where the mischievous puppy is hiding. A lift-the-flap story. This classic story, which has just turned 40 years old, is available once more in te reo Māori.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ko wai e huna ana? / Ōnishi, Satoru
“Simple sentences, counting, colours, recognising emotion, the names of animals, beginner-level te reo Māori for children and learners. 18 fun-loving animals can be found on each question-posing page, sending readers into an up-close, attention-to-detail discovery.” (Catalogue)

Te Uruuru Whenua o Ngātoroirangi / Winitana, Chris
“This is the story of the arrival of Ngātoroirangi in Aotearoa and his exploration of the landscape and subduing of kaitiaki, such as the guardian of Tarawera, Tamaohoi; the guardian of water on Kaingaroa, Torepatutai; and the King of the Patupaiarehe, fairy folk, Ririō. This adventure story traces the places Ngātoroirangi travelled through, such as Waimahunga, the large spring where he conducted his cleansing ceremonies, and Te Whārua o Ngātoroirangi, where his footprints are still visible in the land today. The story is written in te reo Māori.” (Catalogue)

Hare Pota me te whatu manapou / Rowling, J. K
“No te huringa o te kopaki, i tana ringa e wiri ana, ka kite iho a Hare i tetahi hiri-wakihi waiporoporo e whakaatu ana i tetahi tohu kawai; he raiona, he ikara, he patiha me tetahi nakahi e karapoti ana i tetahi pu ‘H’ e rahi ana. Kaore ano a Hare Pota i paku rongo korero e pa ana ki Howata i te taenga haeretanga o nga reta ki a Mita H. Pota, i Te Kapata i raro i te Arapiki, i te 4 o te Ara o Piriweti…

Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger, and a snake surrounding a large letter ‘H.’ Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when letters start arriving for Mr H. Potter, The Cupboard under the Stairs, 4 Privet Drive…

In the first volume of one of the greatest children’s stories of all time, Ron and Hermione, Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall introduce Harry and the reader to Quidditch and You-Know-Who, to the promise of magic and the inheritance of the past. Now inspirationally translated into te reo Maori by Leon Heketu Blake, the story starts here.” (Catalogue)

Kuwi & friends Māori picture dictionary / Merewether, Katherine Q.
“From the #1 bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator of the Kuwi the Kiwi series, Kat Merewether, comes a large scale, stunningly illustrated visual dictionary. Full of over 1000 basic words in te reo Maori and English, perfect for every New Zealander.” (Catalogue)

The standing strong house = Te whare tū māia / Kahukiwa, Reina
“The fictional story of hapū Ngāti Tū Māia revolves around multiple generations, weaving their stories together in a way that celebrates tīpuna (ancestors, grandparents), mokopuna (grandchildren, descendants), and kaitiaki (guardian).” (Catalogue)

Ko Hea rāua ko Ruru : he takitaro mārire / Shallcrass, Laura
“Ko te wāhi noho o Hea, ko tētahi kokonga mārire. Engari, he wāhi turituri tonu… E kōrero ana te pūrākau nei mō Hea e momou ana, ki te kimi i te mārire, tae noa ki ngā wahi ukiuki. Ka tāwhai haere e Hea kit te kimi whakamāramatanga. He pūrākau Hūmāeika, he pūrākau mānawa, hei pānuitanga mō ēra e mamae ana i ngā āhuatanga o te turituri, o te āwangawanga, o ngā whakaaro turituri.” (Catalogue)

Tio Tiamu / Kurahau
“Gentle, clever Toe Jam grows to be huge, and this causes a problem because his feet smell. The bigger he gets the worse the smell. Toe Jam is kind, but the people tease him and avoid him, and finally, they make him leave and live far away. Toe Jam never loses his kind heart, and when there are floods, wild winds and droughts, he returns to help his people. But afterwards, the people always send him away again. Until, one day, when Toe Jam saves the people from an eruption, they finally see Toe Jam’s goodness.” (Catalogue)

Books Alive! Storytimes and Panel Discussions at the National Library

Tomorrow, on Wednesday 11 August, the winners of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults will be announced, in a glitzy evening ceremony at the National Library of New Zealand. The top authors, illustrators and translators in the land are descending on Wellington in order to attend — so we have nabbed many of them to run a series of amazing events for school students called Books Alive. You may have seen some of the Books Alive events run virtually by LIANZA over the last few weeks — they’ve included storytimes, workshops, talks, Q&As, and more. Well, this is the real-life version of that!

Normally, only schools who have registered are able to attend Books Alive, but to allow more people to celebrate the wonderful literary creators that Aotearoa has produced, we’re opening up some of the events to members of the public to attend. So, whether you’re an adult, a teen, or a child, feel free to rock on up to any of the following events and get up-close and personal with some of this country’s most amazing authors and illustrators. All of the events are at the National Library of New Zealand, 70 Molesworth Street, Thorndon:

Books Alive Panel Discussion: Picture Books

Time: 9.45 – 10.35am

LocationTaiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium

Join us for this exciting panel featuring authors and illustrators who have been shortlisted for the prestigious Picture Book Award in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The panellists for this event are Laura Shallcrass (Hare and Ruru: A Quiet Moment), Kate Parker (Kōwhai and the Giants), Chris Gurney and Lael Chisholm (The Hug Blanket) and Philippa Werry and Kieran Rynhart (This is Where I Stand).


Storytime and Author Talk with Amy Haarhoff

Time: 10.45 – 11.10am

Location: He Matapihi Library

Join talented illustrator Amy Haarhoff for this special storytime featuring her book, The Midnight Adventures of Ruru and Kiwi (written by Clare Scott), as well as the opportunity to ask her questions about her life as an illustrator and her experience of working on this remarkable book. Amy is shortlisted in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in the category of Best First Book.


Books Alive Panel Discussion: Fiction

Time: 10.45 – 11.35am

Location: Taiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium

This wonderful panel discussion features authors who have been shortlisted for either the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction or the Young Adult Fiction Award in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The panellists for this event are T. K. Roxborogh (Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea), Des Hunt (Red Edge) and N. K. Ashworth (Draw Me a Hero).


Storytime and Author Talk with Kimberly Andrews

Time: 11.15 – 11.40am

Location: He Matapihi Library

Don your duffel coats and polish your magnifying glasses as we join author and illustrator Kimberly Andrews for this special reading of her book Hound the Detective. Kimberly is shortlisted for the Picture Book Award in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.


Books Alive Panel Discussion: Non-Fiction

Time: 12.30 – 1.20pm

Location: Taiwhanga Kauhau Auditorium

The final panel we’re opening up to the public for the day features the authors and illustrators who have been shortlisted for the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The panellists for this event are Alexandra Tylee and Giselle Clarkson (Egg and Spoon), Dr. Selina Tusitala Marsh (Mophead Tu: The Queen’s Poem), Maria Gill and Marco Ivancic (New Zealand Disasters), Sandra Morris (North and South) and Tom E. Moffatt (You’re Joking: Become an Expert Joke-Teller).

Code Club: Register for Term 3

Coding is everywhere, even behind the scenes of this very blog! Here’s a snippet of HTML from one of our most popular Kids’ Blog posts from last year — can you work out which one?

What is Code Club?

Did you know that you can learn how to code at your local library? That’s right! In collaboration with our friends at Code Club Aotearoa, we have been running Code Clubs across Wellington City Libraries since early 2018, and we’re now taking registrations for Code Clubs across the city for Term 3 2021. This year, our He Matapihi branch, on the ground floor of the National Library in Thorndon, joined the Code Club family, and we’re also excited to announce that our Code Club at Cummings Park Library in Ngaio is back up and running after taking some time off in 2020.

How can I register for Code Club at my local library?

Click the relevant link to register (please note some of our Clubs are full already! You can still click the link to be waitlisted for the next intake of students):

  • Cummings Park Library Code Club — Mondays at 4.00pm (register here)
  • He Matapihi Library Code Club — Wednesdays at 3.45pm (register here)
  • Johnsonville Library Code Club Level 1 — Thursdays at 3.30pm (this club is FULL; click here to join the waitlist)
  • Johnsonville Library Code Club Level 2 — Wednesdays at 5.00pm (this club is FULL; click here to join the waitlist)
  • Karori Library Code Club — Tuesdays at 3.30pm (register here)
  • Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library Code Club — Saturdays at 2.00pm (register here)
  • Newtown Library Code Club — Mondays at 4.00pm (register here)

What will I do at Code Club?

At Code Club, you will complete progressive coding challenges under the guidance of librarians and other coding experts! Most of our Code Clubs start off by covering projects in Scratch 3.0 (and it’s useful if you already have an account, but we can help you make one if you don’t!), with some groups moving on to cover other coding practices like Python and HTML/CSS (using popular multi-purpose coding platform trinket.io). Contact your local club if you want to find out more about what they offer, or you can check out some of the projects yourself here!

To finish up, below is an example of one of the simple games you could find yourself making after just a couple of weeks of attending Code Club. It really is fun! How many ghosts can you capture, ghostbuster?

Neighbours Day Aotearoa: The Great Plant Swap

Kia ora e hoa! Howdy neighbour! Sup? What’s happenin’?

How well do we know our neighbours and why is it important? We’ve come to realise more than ever with Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions around the country, that it’s a good thing to know who we live next to and check in occasionally to see if everything’s OK, or to share groceries and work around your sections. So every year the importance of community and being neighbourly is recognised in Aotearoa, and it’s not just a day set aside, it’s ten!

Neighbours Day Aotearoa 2021 runs from 20-30 March this year. The kaupapa of Neighbours Day Aotearoa is to encourage people to get to know your neighbours better. It is as simple as that!

This year’s theme is The Great Plant Swap to encourage neighbourhoods to grow stronger together. You could get involved in The Great Plant Swap by doing any of the following

🙂 swap seeds with a neighbour

🙂 make a plant gift for your neighbour with something you have grown

🙂 take some flowers to a neighbour

🙂 organise a produce swap

🙂 share garden tips or recipes for food in season

🙂 create community gardens together

🙂 a working bee in the garden for those with mobility issues

🙂 a friendly neighbourhood BBQ and encourage people to bring something homegrown


Feeling the love? Why not try reading these great books about community, gardening and being neighbourly:

Maybe something beautiful : how art transformed a neighborhood / Campoy, F. Isabel
“What good can a splash of color do in a community of gray? As Mira and her neighbors discover, more than you might ever imagine Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, Maybe Something Beautiful reveals how art can inspire transformation–and how even the smallest artists can accomplish something big. Pick up a paintbrush and join the celebration.” (Catalogue)

Community / Brambles, Woody
“Communities can be big or small. From our family members to our friends; from the classroom to the entire school; from the street where we live to the city we live in. Some communities we choose to be a part of, while others are thrust upon us. They can play an important and influential role in our lives.” (Catalogue)

My community / Jones, Grace
“There are communities all over the world. A person might be part of many communities–at school, in their neighborhood, or even one big world community! Young readers will learn how communities help us learn to respect others, celebrate diversity, and work together.” (Catalogue)

The marae visit / Beyer, Rebecca
“A simple and lovely poetic story in English and Te Reo that shows the warmth and friendliness the children find when visiting their local marae. They have lots to learn and lots to do, and have lots of fun too.” (Catalogue)

Nana’s veggie garden = Te māra kai a Kui / Munro, Marie
“This summer, Bella/Ngāpera, Jacob/Hākopa and Lucas help Nana/Kui grow, harvest and eat an amazing garden, and fill every day with heaps of fun, te reo Māori learning and bunches of awesome memories.” (Catalogue)

My neighbour is a fairy / Stokes, Jody
“When Tom moves next door, Meg is excited to have a new neighbour. But she soon realises that Tom is different to the other kids she knows. He doesn’t talk in recognisable words and she sees him doing the same things over and over again. Meg decides that Tom must be a fairy and that the world he sees is the fairy world. Megs mum explains that Tom isn’t a fairy, but has autism. So although Tom likes to do the same things as other children his age, he sees the world in a special way.  My Neighbour is a Fairy is a gentle and fun story which shows children that seeing the world in a different way can provide a rich experience for everyone. It also encourages children to not exclude others who see the world in different ways in their play.” (Catalogue)

Koro’s medicine / Drewery, Melanie
“From blisters to blocked noses, Koro seems to have an unappetising remedy for everything. But could his enthusiasm for rongoa Maori medicine – turn out to be contagious? A children’s story and Maori herbal all in one.” (Catalogue)

Angels next door / McCombie, Karen
“Riley’s best friend has gone away forever and Lauren ‘Queen of Everything’ Mayhew is making school a nightmare. It looks like Riley’s on her own, until the three Angelos Sisters move in next door. Her new neighbours are . . . different. Colourful and sparkly, they stand out. It’s not just their names or how they dress – there’s something magical about them. And since they arrived there have been loads of strange coincidences. Who are these new girls and what’s with all the glitter?” (Catalogue)

The ultimate step-by-step kids’ first gardening book / Hendy, Jenny
“This introduction to gardening covers all the basics, and eight hands-on project chapters then follow, covering everyday techniques, edible treats, flower power, craft projects, wildlife gardening and indoor gardening. Getting your hands dirty in the garden is great fun, and this book contains more than 150 projects suitable for every child from five to 12. ” (Catalogue)

Community soup / Fullerton, Alma
“In a garden outside a Kenyan schoolhouse children are working together to harvest the vegetables they have grown and make them into a soup for everyone to share. But Kioni is having trouble: her herd of mischievous goats followed her to school today and they are trying to eat all the vegetables. The ensuing chaos caused by the goats is cleverly resolved by the children, making their vegetable soup very tasty while saving Kioni’s four-legged intruders at the same time. Using rollicking verse with echoes of “Mary had a Little Lamb,” Alma Fullerton tells a lively story about communal projects and finding creative solutions that help everyone contribute. This lively story for young readers is graced with Alma’s stunning primitive paper sculpture art – the first book she has chosen to illustrate herself.” (Catalogue)

Code Clubs at Wellington City Libraries

Coding is everywhere, even behind the scenes of this very blog! Here’s a snippet of HTML from one of our most popular Kids’ Blog posts from last year — can you work out which one?

Did you know that you can learn how to code at your local library? That’s right! In collaboration with our friends at Code Club Aotearoa, we have been running Code Clubs across Wellington City Libraries since early 2018 — and this year, there is a new library joining the Code Club family — our He Matapihi branch, on the ground floor of the National Library in Thorndon!

Here is the full list of Code Clubs across Wellington City Libraries — click the relevant link to register (please note some of our Clubs are full already! You can still click the link to be waitlisted for the next intake of students):

  • He Matapihi Library Code Club — Wednesdays at 3.45pm (register here)
  • Johnsonville Library Code Club Level 1 — Thursdays at 3.30pm (this club is FULL; click here to join the waitlist)
  • Johnsonville Library Code Club Level 2 — Wednesdays at 5.00pm (this club is FULL; click here to join the waitlist)
  • Karori Library Code Club — Tuesdays at 3.30pm (register here)
  • Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library Code Club — Saturdays at 2.00pm (this club is FULL; click here to join the waitlist)
  • Newtown Library Code Club — Mondays at 4.00pm (register here)

At Code Club, you will complete progressive coding challenges under the guidance of librarians and other coding experts! Most of our Code Clubs start off by covering projects in Scratch 3.0 (and it’s useful if you already have an account, but we can help you make one if you don’t!), with some groups moving on to cover other coding practices like Python and HTML/CSS (using popular multi-purpose coding platform trinket.io). Contact your local club if you want to find out more about what they offer, or you can check out some of the projects yourself here!

To finish up, below is an example of one of the simple games you could find yourself making after just a couple of weeks of attending Code Club. It really is fun! How many ghosts can you capture, ghostbuster?

Kids’ Club Review by Nardous: Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka, me ngā Hēki Muna

Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka, me ngā Hēki Muna / Merewether, Katherine Q.

Me and my little sister loved it.She normally doesn’t like sitting down and reading a book because she’s so energetic but this one seems to be an exception.The illustrations are bright and colourful.I loved the message of this book which is your can’t always get it on your first time and working in a team iso great.

3 stars

Reviewed by Nardous from Brooklyn and South Wellington Intermediate , 11 years old

Kids’ Club Review by Anna: Wildlife of Aotearoa

Wildlife of Aotearoa / Bishop, Gavin

As the title says, this book is about all the varieties of wildlife that live in Aotearoa. It covers native and introduced wildlife. This book is interesting, detailed, educational, and brilliantly illustrated. I think most children would enjoy this book and I give it 5 stars.

5 stars

Reviewed by Anna from Karori and Karori Normal School , 11 years old

Kids’ Club Review by Nardous: Hineahuone

Hineahuone / Hall, Xoë

This story is like a Maori version of Adam and eve (I hope that isn’t offensive).Hineahuone represents everything a women does “New life and endless possibilities”.The illustrations are flawless.5 stars

5 stars

Reviewed by Nardous from Brooklyn and South Wellington Intermediate , 11 years old