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Katarina Te Heikoko Mataira

te atea 6

Rāhoroi 29th Haratua (Saturday 29th May), saw us standing at the waharoa of Waipatu marae, the dew cleansing this wet, grey day, with the kaikaranga calling us on as we slowly walked toward Heretaunga haukūnui. Whānau from ngā hau e wha ascended in unison for the relaunching of the book Te Ātea written by Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira with whakaahua (illustrations) by Para Matchitt.

Dame Whaea Kāterina Mataira of Ngati Porou (1932-2011) was born in Tokomaru Bay, spent her girlhood in Tairawhiti and was a native speaker. She recalled: ‘My father was a brilliant storyteller, many of his stories were about life, real people and events.’  Whaea Kāterina was educated at St Joseph’s Māori Girls College in Napier and trained as a teacher and art educator in the 1950’s. 

In times when te reo wasn’t much in everyday use, Whaea Kāterina's skills advanced, with kōkiri precision, the revitalisation of te reo.  Through whanaungatanga she was able to help with setting up total immersion kura (Hoani Waititi kura) and using the silent method of Te Ataarangi to share with all of Aotearoa. Her natural talent at storytelling lead to an abundance of books being written, in te reo and English, and bi-lingual editions.

The book Te Ātea was revolutionary when it appeared in 1975, sophisticated science fiction expressed in te reo Māori and complemented by the artwork of Para Matchitt. Today this artist’s stunning, modernist work still looks both contemporary and timeless adorning the pages of Te Ātea.

Additional information about Whaea Kāterina and the huge catalogue of books this wahine toa translated, wrote or contributed to can be found via this link:

https://www.storylines.org.nz/Storylines+Profiles/Profiles+I-M/More+in+Profiles+I-M/Dame+Katerina+Te+Heikoko+Mataira.html

 

Image credits: www.akomanga.com

 

7 July 2021

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