Ngatoro-i-rangi was the navigator of the Te Arawa canoe. After he arrived in Aotearoa he claimed the lands that became those of Tuwharetoa. His name translates as 'resounds in the sky', and was related to his powers as a tohunga, in particular those that allowed him to make the thunder echo across the heavens. It is also said that he 'understood the language of the stars...conversed with the moon and was acquainted with the prevailing winds of the seasons...' The imagery in this book are primarily based on text from Tuwharetoa by John Te H. Grace (1959), and are a departure from the more traditional renderings of Maori subject matter. The composition, design and colour of these pictures are the interpretations of Karen Taiaroa-Smithies, who seeks to simplify the legends for her own children and her extended whanau, while discovering her own roots and developing her artistic talent. She has adapted the concept of kowhaiwhai panels as a way of creating the images to tell the stories of her tipuna.
The authors hope that this book will make these stories more accessible to others of the Tuwharetoa iwi, in particular those who have not had the advantage of learning these stories from their own kuia or kaumatua. The text will serve to help parents who may wish to tell the story themselves or interpret the pictures for their children. The original pictures are gouache on sugar paper.
Winner of Spectrum Print Book Design Awards: Best Children's Book 2007.