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Sharing stories like Māui and Mahuika is a great way to teach tamariki about their history and their whānau.

Traditional stories are used to pass on information and to make sense of the world. In particular, the legends of Māui are well known throughout Aotearoa.

This one involves the mischievous Māui and his ancestress, Mahuika the keeper of fire, and tells us that the ‘seeds of fire’ remain in certain trees.

Ask whānau:

  • How do you think we made fires before we had lighters and matches?
  • Have you heard of any of the legends of Māui?
  • What do think about sharing them with your tamaiti?

More curious than careful

We see how Māui was given a warning from his mother to be careful, but he follows his curiosity rather than his mother's advice.


  • Does his behaviour remind you of your tamaiti?

As the ancestors knew, storytelling is a valuable way for parents to share knowledge and history about their whānau with their young children. It’s no different today.

Ask whānau:

  • Why do you think storytelling is valuable?
  • What areas of your child’s development can be promoted through storytelling?

Sharing stories and legends

It’s never too early to be telling or reading stories to tamariki. If whānau haven’t shared any stories or legends before, suggest they might go back to previous Whakatipu booklets where there’s a pakiwaitara at the back of each booklet.

There are also versions of this Māui and Mahuika story on the Internet. Picture books of this story are usually available in public libraries too.

Look for these authors:

  • Peter Gossage
  • Gavin Bishop
  • Queenie Rikihana Hyland
  • A W Reed.

How does this relate to Tākai resources?

Baby wall friezePānuitia taku tino kōrero — ano, ano - Read my favourite story again and again

I love the familiar and predictable because it makes me feel secure.

Six things children need – Te kōrero me te whakarongo - Talking and listening

We try to say more positive things than negative and share funny stories, jokes and games.

Helpful resources for whānau