Moira’s books (7)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wairama, Moira is a storyteller, playwright, poet and children's book writer. She is also a teacher involved over many years with Maori education, and continues to work part time at Te Ara Whanui Kura Kaupapa Maori.
Wairama’s first play, Questions, explored the subject of teen suicide, winning a Fringe New Works award in 1999. She then adapted it for television, where it received a 2000 Qantas Media Award for Best Children’s/Youth Television programme. Her other plays include Te Kauta, winner of a 2002 Fringe Theatre Award, Kihikihi and Popokorua (I Spy Children’s Theatre) and radio dramas Toll Calls, NZ Refugee and Whanau means Family (for Te Wiki o te Reo Maori on Radio NZ).
Moira’s first book Alphabet Art (Cycoda NZ), featured a collection of poems for children based on the alphabet, and was illustrated by Austin Whincup. In 2007, she wrote The Puppet Box (Scholastic NZ), illustrated by Bruce Potter, which was also published in te reo Maori as Te Pouaka Karetao. This was reviewed by Barbara on the Create Readers blog, who said ‘Many five year olds will soon become school pupils for the first time. Moira Wairama and Bruce Potter have successfully captured one small boy’s emotional journey as he makes his transition from home to school.’ The Puppet Box won the 2006 Storylines Joy Cowley Award, as well as being recognised as a Storylines Notable Picture Book in 2008.
Wairama’s The Taniwha of Wellington Harbour (Penguin, 2011) was published in te reo Maori as Nga Taniwha I te Whanga-nui a-Tara, and illustrated by Bruce Potter. When interviewed about the book by The Dominion Post, she said ‘Tipene O’Regan first told me [the story]. He was a true storyteller, fascinated with the history of places, and Wellington. He told a number of legends. This one he took us up Mt Victoria and told us…you’re looking down to where one taniwha died and to the entrance one carved out.’
Wairama translates her own books into te reo, despite being a non-native speaker, and saying ‘I don’t call myself a fluent speaker. For that I think you need to be able to express yourself in both languages. I don’t have the depth of understanding of poetic phrases. I’m still learning.’ Her brother-in-law Mokena Reedy helps with the more difficult parts of the translation. Wairama sees translation as telling the story again – rather than an intentional replica of the story in another language. The Taniwha of Wellington Harbour was selected as a Storylines Notable Non-Fiction Book in 2012.
Moira is also a performance poet and has had work published in a number of anthologies.
Moira Wairama and her partner Tony Hopkins are co-founders of Baggage Co-op, which has been producing successful theatre works for over 15 years. Their production Te Haerenga, a journey of identity has enjoyed successful runs throughout New Zealand, and in 2012 they take this work to the United Kingdom. They are also the founders of the Soul Food Tellers group, through which they travel New Zealand telling stories to audiences of all ages..
Moira Wairama lives in the Wellington region, and is available for kura and bi-lingual schools. If you would like to enquire about her storytelling sessions, please do this directly with her on the link provided at the top of the page.
File created 11 May 2012
- Moira Wairama's profile on the Storylines website
- The Dominion Post interview about The Taniwha of Wellington Harbour (by Simon Edwards, 9 March 2011)
- Matariki, Myth & Māori Stories with Moira Wairama (YouTube, Zealandia Ecosanctuary, 4 September 2020)
- Writers in Schools presents: Moira Wairama (Read NZ Te Pou Muramura, 4 August 2020)
- The Taniwha of Wellington Harbour ( Written by Moira Wairama, Illustrated Bruce Potter Maori legend of Ngake and Whataitai and the making of Wellington Harbour. (YouTube · Carol Algar · 6/05/2020)