Skip to content
Reviewed by Cassidy Bleasel, Assistant HOD of English, Hamilton Girls' High School, Hamilton
Opening sentence
I am eating well.
Āria is a collection of poetry about a young wahine who feels disconnected to her Māori heritage and identity.

The cover of this collection captures the attention of the reader with its bright colours, mermaid and taniwha. This artistry continues throughout the collection which is split into three sections. Each section is illustrated with beautiful black and white images which capture the essence of her struggles to connect to Māoritanga.

The poems are a mixture of free verse and prose style and at the end of the collection there is a glossary of Māori terms to help the reader understand the meaning of the poems further. It helps make this collection more inclusive to those who are on their Te Reo Māori learning journey. Dear Tūpuna (1,2 and 3) appear in each section and show the powerful learning journey the poet goes through as we progress through the collection. It shows the way many of us feel when reconnecting with our identities; uncertainty, anger and finally confidence in herself and her identity. It gives the reader a sense of hope that we too can find peace on our journey of discovery.

Her words are powerful and strong. She mixes traditional with fantasy and leaves a lasting impression on the reader. The imagery she builds through these poems is raw and sometimes confronting. It is poetry that needs to be read and will inspire those on a similar journey to reconnect.

Advisory warning: This is technically an adult title, but being reviewed for older teens - please note, for high schools the language is quite confronting and there is some profanity.
Author & Illustrator: Jessica Hinerangi
Publisher: Auckland University Press
ISBN: 9781869409913
Format: Paperback
Publication: Jul 2023
Ages: 16+
Themes: Finding your identity, Reconnecting with Māoritanga