Rere Atu Taku Poi!/Let My Poi Fly!
By Tangaroa Paul
Illustrated by Rebecca Gibbs
Debut author pens inspiring picture book based on their own journey to performing the poi
Publishing this week as part Pride Month, Rere Atu Taku Poi!/Let My Poi Fly! is the story of a boy who learns that being different takes courage and makes us who we are.
Rangi loves doing haka but performing poi is his favourite — even though his classmates say this artform just for girls. When the lead poi performer falls sick before a school performance, Rangi has to take her place.
How will the other students and audience react – ‘Surely a boy can’t lead the poi?’ As Rangi steps on stage, the familiar movements of poi take him from scared and unsure to standing as his authentic self.
‘As a child I knew I was different, but I struggled to find answers. Kapa haka and poi were the only ways in which I felt the connection between my culture and my self,’ Tangaroa says.
‘This book, and Rangi’s journey of expressing who they are, is all about being bright, brave and
Written in te reo Māori and English (te reo appears first on the pages), Tangaroa’s story is beautifully illustrated by Rebecca Gibbs.
Creative New Zealand generously supported publication of the book, which was created in collaboration with Auckland Libraries Ngā Pataka Kōrero o Tamaki Makaurau.
Tangaroa Paul (Te Whare Tawhito o Muriwhenua), a poi expert who identifies as gender-fluid, is a lecturer in te reo Māori at the Auckland University of Technology, where they have recently submitted a doctoral thesis in gender studies. Rere Atu Taku Poi! is Tangaroa’s first book.
Rebecca Gibbs (Rongowhakaata) has been a primary school teacher and gained a Bachelor of Design (VisCom) in 2015, since when she has worked in illustration and publishing. She lives in Christchurch.
Publication: 8 February 2024 | ISBN: 978-1-99-004248-5 | RRP $22.99
Paperback, 270 x 210 mm portrait, 32 pages, colour