Friday, 28 February 2014

The picture books of Robyn Kahukiwa

Central Auckland Research Centre is currently displaying work by award-winning picture book writer and illustrator Robyn Kahukiwa.

Ref: Robyn Kahukiwa display in the Central Auckland Research Centre, February 2014
Kahukiwa illustrated her first children’s book in 1981 - 'The Kuia and the Spider: Te Kuia Me Te Pungawerewere', a collaborative project with writer Patricia Grace, which won the Children’s Picture Book of the Year.

She also worked with Joy Cowley on 'Grandma’s stick' and 'Hatupatu and the birdwoman' before writing her own picture books, often drawing on Māori myths and legends which she also includes in contemporary settings.

Ref: Robyn Kahukiwa display in the Central Auckland Research Centre, February 2014

'Taniwha' (1986) won the LIANZA Russell Clark Illustration Award. In this book, a little boy makes friends with the taniwha (water spirit/monster) in his river, who takes him on a journey through time and myth, gathering the earth's treasures as he goes.

Kahukiwa received critical acclaim for 'Paikea' (2007), her story about the mythological character known throughout Polynesia.

Ref: Robyn Kahukiwa display in the Central Auckland Research Centre, February 2014
One of her most moving picture books is 'Matatuhi' (2007), which is about a girl adopted into Päkeha family, who realises her rich Māori heritage after a school trip to a museum.

Born in Sydney, 1938, Robyn Kahukiwa is a descendant of Te Whānau-a-Ruataupare and Te Whanau-a-Te-Ao oTokomaru Bay, and is affiliated to Te Arawa by marriage.

Ref: Robyn Kahukiwa display in the Central Auckland Research Centre, February 2014
She returned to New Zealand in 1959 and began painting while caring for her young children. In 1971 she held her first exhibition, and has since become a world renowned artist with an extensive record of exhibitions in NZ, the USA, England and Australia. In 2011 she received the Te Tohu Toi Ke award (for “making a difference”) from Te Waka Toi, the Māori arm of Creative New Zealand.

Ref: Robyn Kahukiwa display in the Central Auckland Research Centre, February 2014
Keen to find out more? Follow this link to see resources by this author, which are held in the heritage collections at Auckland Libraries.


Author: Leanne, Central Auckland Research Centre

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