Sunday, August 10, 2008


I’m always eager to find poetry from the voices of indigenous poets. Thus, I was so pleased to see poems by Māori poets in the wonderful Kiwi collection of poetry for young people from New Zealand, Poetry Pudding. Here’s one that just begs to be read aloud. It's a poem that captures the Māori legend of Māui fishing up Te Ika (the North Island). I think children of any culture would love the musicality of these lines.

Maui Chant

by Dorothy Wharehoka

had a magic fish hook
with his foster brothers
paddled out to sea
in his waka. Hei!

took his magic fish hook
swung it round his head
threw it in the sea
said his karakia. Hei!

pulled his magic fish hook
tugged his magic fish hook
heaved his magic fish hook
Te Ika Nui. Hei!

Argante, Jenny. Ed. 2007.
Poetry Pudding; A Delicious Collection of Rhyme and Wit. Ill. by Debbie Tipuna. Auckland, NZ: Reed Publishing, p. 105.

Poetry Pudding
includes a sprinkling of small black and white illustrations that do not distract from the poems. And there’s a fun font and placement of words on the page, usually centered on the page with generous margins, creating an inviting look and feel. It also includes a table of contents, index of poets, and index of first lines—always helpful. All in all, I’m so glad I sought out this collection all the way from New Zealand. It’s reassuring and exhilarating to connect with others who value poetry for young people!

Picture credit:


Justin Matott said...

Hi, please consider adding my poetry selections to your list! Particularly working on the gender gap issues, inspiring boys to write and read and love poems! You can see samples at my blog or my website,

Cheers, Justin Matott

Gaye Impey said...

I am hoping that someone is watching this site. I am trying to reach Dorothy. I sent her an email and it was returned to me...I am concerned because I don't know how to get in touch with her. My email address is: Thank you.