Oratia's new te Reo Māori edition of Paul Tapsell’s award-winning book Pūkaki – a comet returns was launched on Thursday 14 September at the Rotorua Lakes Council during Māori Language Week.
Pūkaki — Te Hokinga Mai o te Auahitūroa represents several years of concerted work by translator, broadcaster and author Scotty Morrison, working with academic and writer Tapsell and Oratia Books.
It brings the story of the Ngāti Whakaue ancestor up to date and takes in debates over his representation on the New Zealand 20-cent coin and his relocation to the Rotorua Museum, where his future is now in question again after the museum’s closure due to earthquake damage last November.
|Scotty Morrison (left) and Paul Tapsell at the launch at the Rotorua Lakes Council|
Addressing the launch, Scotty Morrison reflected on his dedication to making the Pūkaki story available for future generations in accessible te Reo that yet reflects the dialect and customs of Ngāti Whakaue. The project had begun, he recalled, from a discussion he and Paul had when they met dropping their children off to a Māori-language preschool, and had become a labour of love over several years.
Paul Tapsell reminded guests at the launch of the central role that the carving of Pūkaki has played in the founding of modern Rotorua, and the responsibility that government and iwi have to ensuring his well-being.
|Scotty Morrison speaking about his translation of Pūkaki|
The new book would assist in that role, he said, acknowledging the support of the Ngāti Whakaue Educational Endowment Trust Board for the translation and publication.
Following the launch, Tapsell undertook a public signing of copies at McLeods Booksellers, the local bookstore noted for its commitment to books for and about Māori.
The book is now available from all good booksellers.
|At McLeods Booksellers for the signing, from left: Peter Dowling (publisher, Oratia Books), Lynne Thorp (McLeods), Paul Tapsell, David Thorp (McLeods) and visiting author Tim Tipene|
For more coverage, see Alice Guy's excellent report in the Daily Post.