Tauranga students create interactive storybook sharing Mauao legend
Otumoetai College students create a te reo maori coloring book.
Four students from Otūmoetai College are working to ‘broaden the knowledge’ of young people by creating a bilingual coloring and story book sharing the legend of Mauao.
Grade 13 students Haylee Van Herpen-Jacobs, Paige Sutton, Imogen Lowe, and Jasmine Evans worked on Pūrākau O Mauao year-round as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme.
Haylee, 17, said they spent “so many hours” in class, before school and during lunchtime in an effort to get the book over the line.
“We’re all very motivated because we think this is a unique product and something that we all wanted to promote,” she said.
The book was created using local vendors, with Ōtūmoetai College artwork from Year 9 Isabella Chaney. The Kaitiaki Bobby Ketu school translated the story into Maori te reo.
Haylee said the group called for including English and Maori voice recordings alongside the physical book to help young people interact with the story better.
“Our ancestors all learned their legends from hearing,” she said.
“I would love to have something like this because I’m Maori. But I grew up in a home that wasn’t recognized for that part of my identity.
“Being able to interact with the story and color it in myself would certainly have been something that I would have interested in growing up.”
The group agreed that Isabella was “amazing” to work with her.
“She illustrated a photo for Ngai Tahu magazine. I get it in the mail because it’s from the same iwi as me,” Haylee said.
“Our teacher gave us her contact details. It was pretty cool having someone from our school and where I’m from too. It was great working with her.”
Paige said it was “pretty crazy” to see the finished product two weeks ago.
She said Pūrākau O Mauao received a warm response from the community, with more than half of the 150 copies sold last Wednesday.
They had received several orders from people outside the Bay of Plenty, including Auckland and Taranaki.
“We just hope in general that it will help expand the knowledge of the children.”
The group wanted to create more interactive stories to help connect young people with other local legends.
“We got so much great feedback. Honestly just growing it and adding more stories to the collection would be the biggest goal for us,” said Haylee.
For every 10 books sold, one is donated to the social service of Bay of Plenty Te Tuinga Whanau Trust.