Te Wiki Kaumātua – Across Generations

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Image: Piqsels public domain photography

Seniors Week 2021 (Te Wiki Kaumātua) is from 1 – 8 October. This year’s theme is “Across Generations” which is focusing on ways to connect people from all generations and backgrounds around Wellington. the start date for Seniors’ Week is significant too as 1 October is International Day of Older Persons.

Do you have elderly grandparents or great-grandparents, or even an elderly neighbour you can connect with? Maybe you could record their stories to help keep their traditions alive. Our Kaumātua are a rich treasure house of lifetime experiences that are hugely significant. They are our history. This week is a great opportunity to listen to their stories, learn something about their experiences, and reconnect with them.

In Māori culture, Kaumātua are held in very high esteem.  They have a variety of roles in their whānau (wider family), hapū (sub-tribe) and iwi (tribe):

  • Being the storehouses of tribal knowledge and traditions
  • Acting as guardians of tikanga (Māori customs)
  • Nurturing children – traditionally kaumātua looked after children while their parents worked or went away to fight, and often brought up the first grandchild
  • Providing leadership
  • Helping resolve disputes.

If you want to explore your family history further, Wellington City Libraries have some great databases that can be accessed using your library card. Just jump onto the Hītori / History page HERE

Why not immerse yourself in some books featuring elders:

What’s happening to grandpa? / Shriver, Maria
“Kate has always adored her grandpa’s storytelling – but lately he’s been repeating the same stories again and again. One day he even forgets Kate’s name. Her mother’s patient explanations open Kate’s eyes to what so many of the elderly must confront: Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss. With special insight derived from her own father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, Maria Shriver offers a touching and optimistic story that encourages awareness, acceptance, and dialogue among family and friends.” (Catalogue)
Wrinkles / JR
“This first-ever picture book by internationally acclaimed artist-photographer JR allows young readers to consider the lives and stories of the older people around them. Memories, experiences, and emotions are touched on in a welcoming way, creating the perfect conversation-starter between children and their elders. Evocative black-and-white photographs of faces and simple, poignant read-aloud text consider the literal and lyrical meaning of wrinkles, leaving readers of all ages with a well-justified appreciation of aging and natural beauty.” (Catalogue)

A plan for Pops / Smith, Heather
“In this illustrated picture book, a child helps their grandparents deal with a difficult change in abilities.” (Catalogue)
The lines on Nana’s face / Ciraolo, Simona
“It’s granny’s birthday, but her little granddaughter wonders why, because of the lines on her face, she looks so worried! But they are simply wrinkles, and grandma is very fond of her lines because they are where she keeps her memories.” (Catalogue)
My nanna is a ninja / Young, Damon
“All nannas are different. But what if your nanna was really different? What if your nanna was a ninja?”(Catalogue)
A hat for Mrs. Goldman : a story about knitting and love / Edwards, Michelle
“Sophia knits a special hat for her elderly neighbour and knitting teacher, Mrs. Goldman. When Sophia was a baby, Mrs. Goldman knitted a tiny baby hat to keep her warm. Last year, she taught Sophia how to knit. Now Sophia wants to knit a special hat for Mrs. Goldman. And she wants to do it all by herself!” (Catalogue)
Birdsong / Flett, Julie
“When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of nature and art. As the seasons change, can the girl navigate the failing health of her new friend? Acclaimed author and artist Julie Flett’s textured images of birds, flowers, art, and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this powerful story, which highlights the fulfilment of intergenerational relationships and shared passions.” (Catalogue)

Love you forever / Munsch, Robert N.
“Robert Munsch’s beloved tale is gentle affirmation of the love a parent feels for her child — forever. Nurtured by the unconditional love of his parent, a boy grows happily through the stages of childhood to become, in turn, a loving adult.” (Catalogue)
Whakarongo ki o Tupuna = Listen to your ancestors / Darryn, Joseph
“As a wise teacher grows older, she encourages her students to learn from the example of famous ancestors. She gives the next generation simple messages of days gone by: getting out into nature, letting go of anger, anxiety and stress, and standing strong and tall” (Catalogue)

Some great new kids fiction for Term 2!

Term 2 is well under way, so take some time to sit back, relax and enjoy some of these fantastic new kids fiction books available through your local library!



Stanley will probably be fine by Sally J Pla

After fainting during a school assembly, Stanley uses his time in a safe room to begin drawing a comic book superhero and then enters a treasure hunt so that he can win passes to Comic Fest.




Image courtesy of SyndeticsStonebird  By Mike Revell

When ten-year-old Liam moves house to be closer to his dementia-suffering grandma, he’s thrown into an unfamiliar place, with a family that seems to be falling apart. Liam doesn’t remember what his grandma was like before she became ill. He only knows the witch-like old woman who snaps and snarls and eats her birthday cards. He wants to fix it, but he can’t. Walking his dog one day, Liam discovers an old stone gargoyle in a rundown church, and his life changes in impossible ways. The gargoyle is alive. It moves unseen in the night, acting out Liam’s stories. And stories can be dangerous things…Seeking revenge against the bullies at his new school, Liam tells a story about the gargoyle attacking them. When one of them ends up in hospital, a regretful Liam vows never to go near the gargoyle again. But his grandma’s illness is getting worse, his mum isn’t coping, and his sister is skipping school…What if the gargoyle is the only thing that can save Liam’s family?



The wishmakers by Tyler Whitesides

Ace unwittingly releases a genie from a peanut butter jar and gets unlimited wishes that he must learn to use with their consequences before all the world’s cats and dogs turn into zombies who will eat mankind.



Image courtesy of SyndeticsThe short but brilliant career of Lucas Weed by Chrissie Walker

“Lucas Weed hasn’t really made any friends at his new school, so when the ‘cool kids’ suggest he carry out a prank in class, Lucas thinks it might be his path to being accepted. And when the pranks keep getting more and more outrageous – and with videos uploaded to YouTube – Lucas Weed’s popularity soars! But after an embarrassing stunt that doesn’t quite go according to plan – in front of a very important person – Lucas decides it’s time to call it a day. But how?”–Publisher information.



Nothings fair in fifth grade by Barthe De Clements

A fifth grade class, repelled by the overweight new student who has serious home problems, finally learns to accept her.





Image courtesy of SyndeticsCave bear mountain by Jo Sandhu

At Cave Bear Mountain, Tarin is given tragic news about his Clan, and wants to return to them immediately. But Kaija and Luuka have discovered an astonishing truth about their mother. It seems the friends will be divided. But when the wolf cubs are kidnapped to fight in the Bear Festival. Only together will they have a chance of saving them.



Star friends: Secret spell by Linda Chapman

“Do you believe in magic? Maia and her friends do! And when they meet the Star Animals, a whole world of magical adventure unfolds. Lottie and her star animal, a squirrel called Juniper, must use their special powers to stop the forces of dark magic. Someone in the village is using dark magic and the Star Friends need to work together to figure it out who it is. But things keep going wrong! Sita is convinced a Shade is following her, Lottie is sure she’s going to fail her piano exam and Ionie thinks the others don’t want to be her friends. Only Maia seems her usual self. She needs to find out what is happening and how to stop it! Perfect for fans of My Secret Unicorn and The Rescue Princesses, and for Rainbow Magic readers looking to move on to a more challenging adventure.” –Publisher description.


Wings of fire; a winglets collection by Tui T Sutherland

“In Pyrrhia, every dragon has a story … Before the dragonets, beyond the war of the SandWing queens — the dragons of Pyrrhia each have their own story to tell. Like Fierceteeth, stuck in a SandWing prison, obsessed and full of thwarted ambition. Deathbringer, at the very beginning of his journey, desperate to prove himself. And Six-Claws, a loyal SandWing who will soon find out that loyalty comes with a price. Fly further into the dangerous territories of Pyrrhia than ever before to learn the secrets behind Wings of fire”.

Maia and What Matters – Book Blog tour

Welcome to our book blog tour for Maia and What Matters, by Tine Mortier.

What’s going on here, you ask? This week there is a tour happening across blogs from around the world about Tine Mortier’s new book –Maia and What Matters, published by BookIsland. We are very lucky to be participating in this and, even luckier, we get to interview the author -cool!

Here’s a little info about the book from the publisher’s website:

Maia is an impatient little scamp. When something pops into her head, she wants it. Now! Right this minute! Her grandma’s just the same and they get along like a house on fire. One day Grandma falls ill and loses her control over words. The grown-ups don’t seem to understand her, but Maia never loses sight of her strong, wonderful grandma and knows exactly what she means.

This blog has info about a baking competition, so read through the interview to find the competition details at the end. The next blog on the tour is Munch Cooking, so make sure you visit them to keep going on the book blog tour (the previous stop on this tour was Stephanie Owen Reeder).


And now for the interview…

1. The themes tackled in ‘Maia and What Matters’ are not the easiest. What inspired you to write this story?

TINE: I have a very wonderful family doctor, with whom I have a very good relationship. We always talk a lot when I go to see her about some problem or other. Once, she told me the story of her great-aunt, who had had a stroke and could no longer communicate with her family. My GP was the only one who understood her, so she had to be a kind of translator between the aunt and the rest of the family. Her story almost made me cry, so that same day I decided I had to do a book about it.


 2. The Illustrations by Kaatje Vermeire are amazing. Did you get to work with her closely when she was designing the illustrations for the book?

TINE: Not really. She showed me some sketches occasionally, but it’s not like we really communicated about the work. Mostly, I feel like author and illustrator should be able to do their work independently. I had all the faith that she would do a wonderful job, and she did.


3. Do you have a favourite page in the finished book?

TINE: I really adore the page where the grandfather dies. It is very intense. When I first saw it, it made me cry. Although I knew what was coming, of course, since I wrote the book, the harshness and still the poetry of that page took me completely by surprise.


4. What’s your favourite food from your country?

TINE: I am absolutely fond of chocolate. It even sometimes gets out of hand. I could eat a shelf full of it, and I have no control about it whatsoever. I’m a real disaster when it comes to chocolate…


5. What’s your favourite memory of your Grandma?

TINE: There are so many things. She died only two weeks ago, so it is all very fresh still.

I will forever remember her incredible cooking. She was a very direct and down to earth woman, who never told us literally she loved us. But the way she looked after us and cooked for us, showed us that time and time again.


 6. Your books, and in particular ‘Maia and What Matters’, have been translated into a dozen languages now. How does that feel and which language do you have most affinity with? Is there a particular language that would you like to see ‘Maia and What Matters’ translated into?

TINE: It feels incredible. The very thought that children all over the world are reading the book, makes me shiver at times.

The language I have most affinity with up to now, is English. But frankly: most of the other languages I don’t understand at all. I really would love the book to be translated into Spanish, because half my family are Latin Americans. It would be wonderful if they could read the book as well.


 7. Please tell us what you love about libraries?

TINE: I’m fond of everything that’s got to do with paper and books, so libraries are a kind of candy store to me. I do prefer private libraries to public ones, since I love to have my own books. I do visit public libraries, but I almost always buy the books I like. I find it kind of comforting to be surrounded by them.


8. Over the past ten years you’ve been doing hundreds of workshops with children. What was the most intriguing question you were asked by a child?

TINE: It is very difficult to pick out one particular question, since there have been so many of them. One question that keeps coming back though, is ‘if it is all true’. It applies to nearly all my books, both those that are pretty autobiographically inspired, and those that are cheer fantasy. I always answer it the same way: all is true. Absolutely all of it. Even if children fly (as in Zooperman) or run around as rabbits (Silly Rabbit), or a hurricane gets out of control because she was given the wrong name (Angelica the Terrifying). I then tell them it’s because children’s authors cannot tell lies. That’s forbidden. We never lie. We only exaggerate from time to time.


9. What is the most important message or lesson you would like readers of your book to take away with them?

TINE: That’s a tough one. I don’t really think about messages too much when writing a book. I just hope people will enjoy it, and maybe grow to love it. In that case, they will get exactly what they need from the book, I suppose.


 10. What’s your next project?

TINE: That is very secret, so don’t tell anyone else.

I’m currently writing a book about a young boy who wants to become a train. He has all sorts of reasons for it, and he wishes it so hard, he gets to realise his dream in the end.


As promised, here’s the competition info (click on the picture). Good luck!


Next stop in the tour is Munch Cooking. Go there now! (Find the other tour stops here)


Thanks for visiting everyone.