Skip to content
Reviewed by Cassidy Grace, Assistant HOD of English, Hamilton Girls' High School, Hamilton
Opening sentence
There is a river. It has flowed throughout Aotearoa for aeons.
Te Awa o Kupu, is an anthology of poetry and fictional prose by contemporary Māori writers. It is the companion piece to Ngā Kupu Wero, a series of political, cultural and social commentaries based on the idea of problems faced by Māori today.

In the introduction, the editors discuss the river as a metaphor for the journey of Māori writing and how it is creating a new wave and generation of Māori writers and poets. Throughout this anthology it features 80 different writers including an abundance of well known authors and poets like Tayi Tibble, Ruby Solly, essa may ranapiri, Tina Makereti and Witi Ihimaera.

I love the idea that we are now seeing more Māori voices through this text. Teaching at a school in the Waikato, I appreciate poems about Rangiaowhia and stories about taniwha in the Waikato river which I can incorporate into my classroom to help ākonga understand the importance of where we stand and our own community.

In regards to the layout, this text needed to be more structured and organised more cohesively as it felt thrown together at times. If the river was the metaphor then the way it flows and creates meaning should have also been taken into consideration. However, this does not detract from the overall pleasure I had reading this anthology.

Note: This is an adult book that has been reviewed with High School students in mind, so please note some of the content may not be appropriate for younger teens.
Author & Illustrator: Edited by Vaughan Rapatahana and Kiri Piahana-Wong
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 9780143777953
Format: Paperback
Publication: Sep 2023
Ages: 16+
Themes: Māori anthology, Te Ao Māori,