Ngā Kupu Wero is a powerful new collection of approximately 60 non-fiction pieces authored by contemporary Māori writers.
The title can be translated to ‘The Words of Challenge’ and is a companion volume to Te Awa o Kupu which is the fiction version – full of poetry and stories.
There is a whakapapa to this book, that began with Into the World of Light, 1982, and continued with the Te Ao Mārama series published between 1992 and 1996.
Witi Ihimaera, as editor, has expertly curated a diverse range of contributions, spanning the years 2017 to 2022. The contributors represent a rich tapestry of Māori voices, encompassing scholars, psychiatrists, doctors, professors, musicians, journalists, artists, and secondary school ākonga.
The collection unites a variety of forms, including essays, articles, commentary, and creative non-fiction, covering a wide array of topics: Te Reo, Te Tiriti, Colonisation, the environment, gender, and mātauranga Māori. The writing is incisive, nuanced, and insightful, providing fresh perspectives and unique viewpoints that inspire readers to delve deeper into the works of these talented authors.
As an educator, I find this volume to be an invaluable resource. Rather than a one-time read, it's a treasure trove to revisit regularly, offering a continuous source of knowledge and a chance to listen to the powerful kōrero of these word warriors.
Ngā Kupu Wero is an optimistic book that radiates hope, positivity, and clarity. It invites us to embrace the challenges presented within its pages, encouraging us to engage in thoughtful conversation, and compelling us to act upon the wero, the challenge, to create a better future for all.
Review by Bridget Crooks, High School Teacher