Expo 2020 Dubai shares a free anthology for children which includes the powerful Māori story.
Expo 2020 Dubai are tapping into the power of stories to ignite a love of reading and storytelling in young people from across the globe.
Children’s Tales from Around the World is a curated anthology of 43 captivating stories, passed down from generation to generation, in different countries. Written for those aged between 5 to 12-years-old, Expo 2020 Dubai created the anthology to spark a love of reading in children and to connect them with the storytelling experiences of children from diverse cultures.
The free to download compilation is a true manifestation of Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.’
To honour the cultural origins and spirits of these tales, each country was asked to source local writers, artists or illustrators to retell these stories and draw key scenes and characters, as well as invite children from their country to render their own interpretations.
Matariki was chosen by the New Zealand at Expo team to contribute to the anthology.
Matariki is the Māori name for the small cluster of stars that come to view low on the north-eastern horizon in New Zealand. The Matariki appears in the tail of the Milky Way in midwinter and marks the Māori New Year.
Matariki – The Eyes of God tells the story of Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother who were separated by their children. It is a tale of renewal, opportunity and reflection on who we are and our connection to our whanau.
This story was written for the anthology by Professor Rangi Mātāmua, a Māori indigenous studies professor and astronomist. Mātāmua has spent much of his life learning about the star cluster from a 400-page manuscript written by his ancestors and sharing that knowledge with New Zealanders. In 2019 he won the Prime Minister’s Science Communications Award for revitalising traditional Māori knowledge of the stars and engagement with Matariki.
“Matariki has so many wonderful parts to it. I’d like to see those principles of reflecting on those that we have lost in the year that’s gone, celebrating who we are, and then planning for the next season, as the basis of a major celebration every winter with the rising of Matariki,” Mātāmua said when he received the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize in 2019.
The beautiful illustrations in the story were created by designer and illustrator Hika Taewa.
You can read the story and enjoy the illustrations yourself below and can read the full Children’s Tales from Around the World anthology here.