Author(s): Courtney Sina Meredith & Mat Tait
The incredible story of Tupaia, Tahitian priest navigator, who sailed on board the Endeavour with Captain Cook on his first voyage to Aotearoa. Follow Tupaia as he grows up in Ra'iatea, becoming a high-ranking 'arioi and master navigator. Join him as he meets up with Cook in Tahiti and sails as part of the crew on the Endeavour across the Pacific to Aotearoa. Witness the encounters between tangata whenua and the crew as the ship sails around the coast, and discover the important role Tupaia plays as translator and cultural interpreter. Written in dramatic prose and verse by Courtney Sina Meredith and stunningly illustrated in graphic style by Mat Tait, this is an essential book for all New Zealanders.
This year marks the ‘sestercentennial’ (250th anniversary) of the first meetings between Maaori and Europeans following the arrival of James Cook and the Endeavour at Turanga (Gisborne) in early October 1769. A national commemoration, Tuia – Encounters 250, will acknowledge this pivotal moment in our nation’s history and the extraordinary feats of the Pacific voyagers who sailed across te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa and settled in Aotearoa centuries earlier in October.
Poet Courtney Sina Meredith and comic artist Mat Tait have created a stunning and important book in The Adventures of Tupaia. There are many books telling this story from the POV of Cook and other Pakeha who travelled with him on the Endeavour but this is the only book aimed at young readers which tells of Tupaia's travels incorporating his particular beliefs and motivations set within a distinctive Pasifika world view.
Aimed at age 8-14, but also containing much for the adult reader, this is a fascinating and engrossing story told in both poetry and prose interspersed with comic strips which should be in every school library and on every young person's shelf.
Courtney Sina Meredith is an Auckland poet, playwright, fiction writer and musician. Her award-winning works include her play Rushing Dolls, poetry Brown Girls in Bright Red Lipstick and short stories Tail of the Taniwha. Courtney has held various international residencies including the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa where she is an Honorary Fellow in Writing. She is the Director of Tautai, New Zealand's leading contemporary Pacific arts trust. Mat Tait is a South Island based comics artist and writer. He gained a BFA in painting from Ilam School of Arts and then lived in America and Britain before settling in Motueka, where he does freelance illustration and works on his art. His comics work has been published widely both locally and internationally, most recently The Heading Dog Who Split In Half with writer Dr Michael Brown. He has also illustrated numerous children's and educational material for Learning Media, Pearson and other publishers.