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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

2 days ago

Maureen Box (centre) shows off her new book with Tracey Adams, EIT Reprographic Technician, (left) and Raewyn Paterson, Programme Co-ordinator for EIT’s Level 3 & 4 Certificates in Art and Design.

A lifelong passion for art led 76-year-old Maureen Box to enrol at EIT’s IDEAschool – a move that has resulted in her writing and illustrating a children’s book.

Maureen (Ngāti Māhu, Ngāti Hinepare, Ngai Tāwhao, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Ahuriri) has lived a full life – passionate about education and the arts, as a mother, and in later years a teacher. She is also an active trustee on Moteo Marae, helping with the recovery from damage by Cyclone Gabrielle last year.

Maureen grew up at Moteo, near Puketapu, attending primary school there.  She now lives in Hastings.  Her husband, Paul – a musician – has since passed on, but she is surrounded by family – six children, 15 mokopuna & seven mokomoko  (great grandchildren)

Having retired as a primary school teacher nine years ago, Maureen has always enjoyed painting, stemming back from her childhood years when her father let her paint murals on the lounge wall.

It was when her daughter Melanie, who used to work at EIT, mentioned that there was an Art programme at IDEAschool that she may be interested in, that she decided to give it a go.

That turned out to be the  Level 3 Certificate in Arts and Design, which Maureen started  the same day that Cyclone Gabrielle hit.   The Course was re-started in July on the EIT campus, and despite the disruptions, Maureen was still able to attend and complete the Course. 

She is about to start the Level 4 programme in July,

however, it is her work during Level 3 that led her to opening a new chapter in her life, writing and illustrating children’s books.

When the children’s book assignment was introduced, Maureen was able to act on an idea about publishing a book that she and her daughter had thought of previously. 

“We had to write and illustrate a kiddies book, and the illustrations had to be one of the media that we were taught for that.”

The book is a pūrākau about Moremore, the son of Pānia of the Reef, a well-known story in Hawke’s Bay.  Pānia, a maiden who lived in the sea, used to come ashore at Mataruahoe, also known as Bluff Hill. Karitoki, the handsome son of a Māori chief, met Pānia at the stream flowing from the base of the Hukarere Cliff, and fell in love with her.

A son was born to Pania and Karitoki. Because he had no hair, they called him Moremore; the hairless one.  The book tells the story of Moremore, a kaitiaki (guardian) of the area, who often disguises himself as a shark, a stingray, an octopus, or a log. 

This well-known pūrākau amongst nga hapū o Ahuriri has been passed down orally, but had not been written as a kiddies ‘ book.  

“I researched online recollections, including snippets from the WAI documents, and spoke with a member  of the Tareha family to make sure that it was the authentic version”

“The Tareha family is descended from Moremore and the whakapapa is included in the book”

Maureen has both written the story, and created beautiful illustrations using inks and dyes.  Maureen was taught the conventions of book layouts for publication.  The book, called “Moremore, he Tipua Kaitiaki”, has been published by Maureen through EIT Reprographic Services and she is looking at a second print run as a friend of hers has translated the book into te reo.

It is just the beginning for Maureen, who feels that the stories of Ahuriri and Heretaunga, should be preserved ensuring that the essence of pūrākau, lives on.

“I like to keep busy and I like learning something new. You’re never too old to stop learning, for sure.”

Raewyn Paterson, Programme Co-ordinator for EIT’s Level 3 & 4 Certificates in Art and Design, said: “Maureen was a really high achieving student, who eagerly embraced all of the media that she was introduced to which included textiles, printmaking, drawing, painting, typography, and ceramics.”

“It is so rewarding to see our graduate take the skills she was taught and further develop them into the reality of a published book. “

“We are certainly looking forward to seeing what other projects she will do when she learns more skills in the Level 4 Arts and Design.”