Launched in 2012 by Te Ipukarea National Māori Language Institute at AUT, the biannual He Huatau Auaha Te Reo Māori Creative Writing Competition aims to foster te reo Māori and the unique Māori perspective in New Zealand storytelling.
Event organiser, Hemi Kelly, is a lecturer on Te Reo Māori at Te Ara Poutama Faculty of Māori & Indigenous Development at AUT.
“Māori have a strong oral tradition, but our ancestors took to the pen very quickly. And Māori writers have made their mark here and internationally,” he says.
“We want our tamariki and rangatahi to have the courage to be themselves; to draw from their experiences and tell their own stories in writing.”
The competition included primary, intermediate and senior writing categories.
The winner of the primary category, Kaa Wilkinson (Ngāti Porou)—a 10-year old from Auckland’s Newton Central Primary School—submitted a short story entitled Tōku haerenga nui ki te marama (My intrepid journey to the moon). Category judge, te reo advocate Kristin Ross, said, “Kaa’s trip to the moon by way of accident had me enthralled, from the first word to the final full stop.
“I had the privilege of judging the primary category and what an adventure it was. Our young authors took me on trips in flying saucers, time machines and a rainbow-coloured tsunami.”
Tōku haerenga nui ki te marama
Nā Kaa Wilkinson
I tētahi ata ka haere mai ōku tēina, a Te Ao rāua ko Te Rua ki taku taha, tākaro ai. I te wā e tākoro ana i rapahuki a Te Ao i a Te Rua, i kī a Te Ao, “Aroha mai, Te Rua.” Engari i mua i a Te Rua i kite au i tētahi kōhao, i kōwhiri mātau kia tomo atu ki roto.
I roto i te kōhao tētahi waka ātea, ka haere mātau ki roto. E whā ngā wāhanga o te waka ātea. I haere mātau ki te wāhanga tuatahi, ko ngā kāpata e ono ki roto. I tētahi kāpata e ono ngā kākahu ātea. I te wāhanga tuarua, ko ngā mīhini whakahaere waka ātea me ngā rorohiko. I te wāhanga tuatoru, ko ngā hiki maitai kia kaua e ngoikore ngā kaihautū. I te wāhanga tuawhā, ko ngā penehīni hei whāngai i te waka ātea.
Kāore māua ko Te Ao i mōhio, heoi i pēhi pātene a Te Rua kia rere te waka ātea. I titiro mātau ki waho i te matapihi, e rere ana mātau. Ka kī ahau, “Kei te rere te waka ātea.” Ka kī a Te Rua, “I pēhi pātene ahau.” Ka kī a Te Ao, “Te pātene kei te wāhanga tuawhā?”
Ka kī a Kaa, “Ina pēhi koe i tērā pātene ka rere te waka ātea ki te marama!”
“Eiii!” Te kī a Te Rua. Ka tere oma mātau ki te wāhanga tuatahi, ā, ka mau kākahu ātea mātua.
I ū mātau ki runga i te marama, ā, i kite mātau i ngā tipua, ko ētahi he tino iti, ko ētahi he tino nui, me te tino iti o ō rātau maikuku me ō rātou ihu. He tino nui o rātau whatu me o rātou waha. He parauri, he kākāriki, he whero hoki ō rātau kiri.
I tino mataku mātau. Kāore mātau i mōhio mehemea i tino rarata mai rātau. Nā reira, i umere a Te Rua, ā, ka haere ngā tipua ki a Te Rua. Ka pātai a Te Rua, “Ko wai koutou?!”
Ka kī ngā tipua, “Ko mātau ngā kaitiaki o te marama. Nō hea koutou?”
Ka whakautu a Kaa, “Nō Aotearoa mātau. Me kimi mātau i ētahi penehīni.”
Ka kī ngā tipua rā, “Kei te wāhanga pōuri o te marama ngā penehīni, engari kei taua wāhanga pōuri o te marama ngā tipua kino. Kuhuna ēnei kākahu pango, kāore ngā tipua e kite i a koutou.”
Ka mihi atu a Te Ao, “Kia ora!”
Ka mau kākahu pango mātau, ā, ka haere mātau ki te wāhanga pōuri o te marama. I kite a Te Rua i ngā tipua kino. Ka umere a Te Rua, ka kī “Aaaaa he tino weriweri rātau!!!” I konihi mātau ki ngā penehīni. Kāore ngā tipua rā i kite i a mātau. I haere tōtika mātau ki te waka ātea. I riringi mātau i ngā penehīni ki roto i te mīhini, ā, ka rere anō te waka ātea.
I hoki mātau ki Aotearoa. Ka kī mai tōku māmā, “I te aha koutou?”
Ka kī atu, “I te tākaro mātau.”
Ka kī mai tōku māmā, “Ka pai, ko te wā kai ināianei.”
The full list of winners:
Primary category finalists | ages 6-10 years
The winner of the primary category is Kaa Wilkinson (Ngāti Porou).
The 10-year old from Auckland’s Newton Central Primary School submitted a short story entitled Tōku haerenga nui ki te marama – (My intrepid journey to the moon).
2ND Te haerenga mōrearea itiiti – (My adventurous journey)
By Ivy-Meke Maiti, Te Arawa, age 10
From Westmere Primary School, Auckland
3RD Te kaitiaki o Huia – (The guardian of Huia)
By Ātaahua Te Hei, Ngāti Raukawa, age 9
From Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rita in Otaki
Intermediate category finalists | ages 11-14 years
The winner of the intermediate category is Maarie Apanui-Barr (Ngāti Porou, Kai Tahu).
The 12-year old from Te Kura o Otari School in Wellington submitted a short story entitled Ka pono aku moemoeā – (My dreams come true).
Event organiser, Hemi Kelly says: “Maaire’s story about a dream of loss becoming a reality was an engrossing piece of writing. What struck me most was the use of language and her ability to play with words. She created a metaphor to really paint a picture for the reader.”
2ND Ehara tōku maunga i te maunga nekeneke, he maunga tū tonu
(My mountain does not move, it is fixed)
By Wātene Campbell, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Kahungunu, age 15
From Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna in Wellington
3RD Mākutu – (Magic)
By Suraya Goss, Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpā, Ngāti Porou, age 15
From Manukura School in Palmerston North
Senior category finalists | ages 15-18 years
The winner of the senior category is Apapera Tapiata (Ngā Rauru).
The 15-year old student from Mana Tamariki in Palmerston North submitted a short story entitled Mākinakina – (Rough).
2ND Mate atu he hoa – (When a friend passes away)
By Janine Taueki, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, age 17
From Mana Tamariki in Palmerston North
3RD Te Aka Taiaha a Kura – (Kura’s taiaha)
By Maimoa Toataua-Wallace, Ngāti Maniapoto, age 17
From Taiātea Wharekura in Hamilton
Category judge, Vini Olsen-Reeder, says: “Apapera was chosen on her ability to demonstrate three things; structure, clarity and progression. Her language was excellent and it was evident that she had chosen her words very carefully.
“I really enjoyed the creativity in each story. Language plays an important role, but it can easily be corrected. The imagination was what really amazed me.”