Pania of the Reef

Pania of the Reef

written and illustrated by Peter Gossage

North Shore, New Zealand: Puffin Books

ISBN: 9780143503552/0143503553

This is a retelling of the well-known legend, set in New Zealand. Half sea-creature and half human, Pania swims to land each evening, and falls in love with a young chief from the village there. Although they become man and wife, Pania misses her own people of the sea, and so returns to the sea each evening. When she gives birth to a baby boy, Moremore, the young chief tries to make Pania stay with him always. However she does not, and returns to the sea, broken-hearted. The legend tells us that Pania became a rock, while her son became a taniwha in the form of a shark.

Ilustrated by Gossage using traditional Maori forms, showing koru, moko and teko teko designs, this book was nominated because it shows Maori culture.

A New Zealand Curriculum-linked  activity for this picture book  can be found here.