Review: Chronicles of Paki

Alison Mitchell of St Andrew’s Matamata has reviewed popular series of New Zealand children’s books, the Chronicles of Paki. 

Chronicles of Paki Te-Powhiri2-sml

The Chronicles of Paki series of children’s books tells of our early New Zealand Christian history as the Maori people interact with the arrival of missionaries and new settlers.

Delightfully written using A4-sized pages in a pictorial format, the stories have large illustrations, speech bubbles, captions and short passages of script telling the story.

Iconic kiwi, Paki, acts as a guide and explains meanings of words and phrases, translates Maori to English, and gives facts and dates. This makes the books easy to pick up and read or simply to look at the pictures and captions for detail.

These books are suitable to be read by children aged 7 to 13, but can be a “read–to” book at all ages. Adults may also learn previously unknown information through these books. Pick one up and you may want to read the whole series as your curiosity quickens, and you become even more eager to learn previously unknown facts.

Our early missionaries were not only men of faith but brave, adventurous people who dedicated themselves to bringing Christianity to the Maori people; they also often resolved conflicts and stopped fighting from breaking out. Famous warring warriors, when confronted with the good news, had their lives changed and became great warriors for God.

Two very different cultures were being brought together and the extraordinary efforts made by the missionaries won them respect and great esteem from the Maori people.

Series I consists of five books: Te Powhiri – The Welcome, Te Pahi the Adventurer, Ruatara and the New Beginning, Patuone the Peacemaker and Elizabeth Colenso the Teacher. These stories bring the message of mercy and forgiveness to New Zealand shores in the years from Captain Cook to Samuel Marsden.

The Chronicles of Paki Series II also consists of five books: Henry Williams the Peacemaker; Ngakuku, Tarore and the Little BookTe Whiwhi, Katu and Te Wai PounamuOctavius Hadfield the friend of the Tangata Whenua and Wiremu Tamihana Tarapipipi the King Maker.

The good news, especially through the Gospel of Luke, showed how the message of love, peace and forgiveness melted the hearts of many Maori.

These stories open up the thoughts and ideas you may have had about our early New Zealand history. Let’s learn about our own country’s Christian background. Find out about the early history in your area. These stories need to be told and retold as most of us are unfamiliar with them.

You will be amazed!

Reviewed by Alison Mitchell, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Matamata

Blog Moderator’s note: Learn more about the Chronicles of Paki series, or order copies on the publisher’s website

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