Atua: Māori Gods and Heroes | Book Review

The stunning new book, Atua: Māori Gods and Heroes, introduces readers to the pantheon of Māori gods and heroes, and explores Aotearoa’s most exciting legends.

Meet the gods, demigods and heroes of the Māori people of Aotearoa in this breathtaking, large-scale illustrated book for children by award-winning author and illustrator Gavin Bishop.

Before the beginning there was nothing.
No sound, no air, no colour – nothing.
TE KORE, NOTHING.
No one knows how long this nothing lasted because there was no time.
However, in this great nothing there was a sense of waiting.
Something was about to happen.

Explore Aotearoa’s exciting legends from the Creation to the Migration. Fascinating, beautiful and informative, this once-in-a-generation compendium deserves a place on every bookshelf.

Find out more about Atua: Māori Gods and Heroes at Penguin Books.

atua maori gods and heroes

76 pages long Atua: Māori Gods and Heroes is jam packed FULL with stories of Māori folklore – gods, heroes and legends.

At 7 and 4 years of age my kids still have a very short attention span, so we managed a chapter or a few pages each night of this incredible compendium exploring Aotearoa’s exciting legends from the Creation to the Migration. Each story is rich with detail about our Māori tales so you’re introduced to the story, the characters, the language and the deeper meaning behind some of the most familiar of Māori craft, carving, tā moko and culture.  We learn what Tōtara is used for – it’s best for waka among other things, and did you know Kauri gum can be chewed?! We find out which moon is good for catching crayfish and eels – gotta admit, I’ll leave the eels to Koro but count me in for crayfish! 

We adventured our way through the pages, the boys entranced by each tale and trying to grasp what information they could, which wasn’t everything, there’s plenty more for them to grasp as they develop. We were introduced to Ranginui and Papatūānuku, why the sky is full of stars and the earth covered in forests. We learned that Tānemahuta has had a lot on his plate! He’s had a hand in creating everything! And we’re only up to page 36!

We’re looking forward to finding so much more. We’re about to read about Hineahuone – the first woman. The birth of Māui and his great deeds. Did you know a woman who is skilled at performing waiata (there are 3 main traditional types) is compared to the goddess Hineruhi “whose dance is the sparkle of light on morning dew”. 

My boys, as per usual, are eager with questions and we can’t wait to read the rest! 

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