A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree | Book Review

It’s been 40 years since the publication of Aotearoa’s iconic Christmas story – A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree. To celebrate the anniversary, Puffins Books has released a new gorgeous hardback gift edition.

On the first day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A pukeko in a ponga tree

We’re all familiar with the story – an Aotearoa twist on the 12 days of Christmas – A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree. To be honest, the original 12 Days of Christmas song grates on me. I’d always hit next on any Christmas playlist that it appears on, but the Aotearoa Christmas story is a whole different bowl of French onion dip and chips … maybe just cause it sounds like home. Pukekos, ponga trees, kumara, kete, grubs, fat pigs, poi and pūhā … when we read (or sing) A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree, our visuals and hearts are most firmly wrapped up warmly in Kiwiana … and who doesn’t want to go home for Christmas?!

This new edition is a very special 40th-anniversary beautiful hardback edition, including play-along music notation and chords, as well as a link to the song video! Our wee whānau has thoroughly enjoyed reading – and hearing for the first time for some of us – A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree and celebrating an Aotearoa Christmas. The illustrations by famed pop artist Dick Frizzell also have an old school feel that have added to the awesome Kiwi nostalgia. 

We agree, this very special 40th-anniversary hardback edition is a gift to treasure and deserves a place on every bookshelf!

To get your copy, visit Penguin Books. 

A pukeko in a ponga tree

Written by the distinguished composer and Māori Language Commissioner, Sir Kingi M. Ihaka, and teamed with iconic illustrations by famed pop artist Dick Frizzell, this story has captivated and entertained children for four generations. It has been performed in concerts, adapted into Christmas plays and even inspired a festive community light show on Auckland’s Harbour Bridge.

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