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Reviewed by Shelley Sutherland, St Bernadette's School, Canterbury
Opening sentence
From the mārae to the whare, from getting to know each other to sharing kai, this illustrated picture dictionary is a fabulous guide to the Māori way of life!
'My First Words about Tikanga Māori' is a guide to Māori customs. Although designed for children, it unfolds as a rich tapestry of cultural wisdom that is equally invaluable for adults.

Each section delves into fundamental aspects of Māori life, from the powerful words of karakia to the intricate art of moko (traditional tattoo). The book skillfully navigates through diverse settings such as formal welcomes pōwhiri, hongi, and the significance waiata. The inclusion of terms like hui, mihimihi, and kōrero ki ngā pakeke seamlessly blends into a comprehensive exploration of Māori meetings, greetings, and interactions.

Vibrant illustrations, crafted by a team of young Māori artists, bring the pages to life with captivating depictions labeled in both Māori and English. The colours are a harmonious balance of restful and compelling, complementing the bold and easily readable text. The thoughtful layout enhances accessibility, grouping related concepts for intuitive navigation.

What sets this guide apart is its practicality, offering not just definitions but a deeper understanding of the cultural nuances. As the reader absorbs words like whare and koro, they gain insight into the cultural significance, fostering a respectful appreciation. The book serves as a bridge between cultures, dispelling unintentional misunderstandings and enriching the reader's connection with Māori traditions.

A must-have for every home, this guide is both enlightening and enjoyable, seamlessly weaving Māori wisdom into the fabric of everyday life.
Author & Illustrator: Kurawaka Productions
Publisher: Penguin Random House New Zealand
ISBN: 9781776957064
Format: Paperback
Publication: Sep 2023
Ages: 0-10
Themes: Tikanga Māori, te reo Māori