Harry Potter coming in te reo Māori
10 October 2019
Auckland University Press will publish 100 books in te reo Māori for children and adults, starting with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
We knew there was great work to be done with publishing original books in te reo and translating existing popular titles, for both children and adults.
Sam Elworthy, director of Auckland University Press, says the idea had been in the pipeline for a while.
“I had been talking with [journalist] Miriama Kamo and her husband Mike Dreaver about immersion schools and language, and how there were generally no more books in te reo Māori once you turned ten,” he says.
“AUP had great success with Tīmoti Kāretu and Wharehuia Milroy’s book, He Kupu Tuku Iho: Ko te Reo Māori te Tatau ki te Ao, an adult book in te reo Māori, but it was the only book published that year in te reo that wasn’t a picture book.
"We knew there was great work to be done with publishing original books in te reo and translating existing popular titles, for both children and adults.”
Their vision has become a reality with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern launching the Kotahi Rau Pukapuka Trust which will deliver its first title in partnership with AUP in 2020 – J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Working with a group of people with connections across Māori language, literature and te reo Māori translation, they formed the Trust and set about raising money.
“Translation can add tens of thousands of dollars to a book’s costs and while we have around 100,000 people fluent in Māori, that’s still a very small market,” says Sam.
He says the catalogue will be diverse, from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist through to Paula Morris’s Rangatira and Marvel Comics'Avengers vs X-Men. All titles will be available as eBooks and some will also be available as audio books.
The group held hui to develop their plan, choosing books that Sam says would appeal to te reo readers. Former Silver Fern Pānia Papa, now a Māori language champion, will lead the translation and peer-review work needed to publish.
AUP plans to start with four books a year, with the aim of getting the books into schools and public libraries as a series.
Pru Scott for Julianne Evans | Media Adviser
Mob 027 562 5868