Regional | Books

World-first Māori reading books pave the way for other indigenous languages

A book that reads itself aloud is now available in Maōri, a world first.

Auckland Libraries has teamed up with global company Library Ideas to add spoken Māori to six children’s books that come with VOX readers attached to their front covers that read the books aloud.

Librarian Raniera Kingi (Ngāpuhi) translated six Māori picture books for the project, which he says is a world first.

“This book is for children only. Not for elders, not for adults. It’s a type of language for children. As it is a different language for elders.

“That is, perhaps, the benefit of these words. So that they would want to listen. So they would want to read. So they desire to do all those things. Thus, here is one of those amazing things that ties these books together.”

He hopes these books can be a resource for tamariki where they can hear and learn the language from the VOX readers.

“It allows the children to hear the language and first read the pictures. If he is to be taught the vocabulary, the pictures are important. When you see pictures you say “Oh yeah! This picture is pretty” But it’s also a story.”

Māori actors Miriama McDowell and Kimo Houltham are the narrators of the six picture books:

  • Show us where you live, humpback = Whakaatuhia kei hea tō kāinga, paikea by Beryl Young and illustrated by Sakika Kikuchi
  • What do you do with a problem? = Ka pāngia ana ki te raru, me aha? written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom
  • Maybe = Ākuni pea written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Gabriella Barouch
  • Tarantulas = Pungāwere pūhuruhuru by Kari Schuetz
  • Octopuses = Te wheke by Ann Herriges
  • Seree’s story = Te kōrero mō Seree by Irma Gold and illustrated by Wayne Harris

To reserve a copy of the books, visit a local Auckland library or head online to