Māori superheroes take on digital world

By Taroi Black

Maori artist Ani-Oriwia Adds (Ngāti Tukorehe, Te Ātiawa) will be releasing an app to fire up interest in Māori stories.

The app called Mana Wahine Digicom will feature sketches of Māori Fire Deity Mahuika and Guardian of the underworld Hine-nui-te-po to educate children about their origins.

Ani-Oriwia has posted examples of the images on her personal Facebook page.

She says her idea stemmed from the 3D computer-animated musical fantasy comedy adventure film, Moana.

“Ultimately our children need Māori animated films similar to Disney characters and I think our stories have the potential to do that,” Ani Oriwia said.

According to some versions of ancient Māori history Mahuika is the younger sister of Hine-nui-te-po. It’s from her, that Māui obtained the secret of making fire.

Hine-nui-te-po is the daughter of Tāne. She fled to the underworld because she discovered that Tāne, whom she married, was also her father.

“The minute I released my first sketches of Mahuika and Hine-nui-te-po, school teachers responded in awe because they prefer stories for their students rather than your usual American take on children’s stories,” Ani-Oriwia says.

 “The most important message is these stories have to be told the right way and you don’t want to misrepresent our culture.”

Ani-Oriwia will be meeting with a team of researchers and a Tikanga Māori expert to assist in putting the app together.

Her first comic series of the app will feature Mahuika and will be released on Monday 22 August 2016.

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