Sunday, 24 January 2021

A Retrospective Review

In light of the fact that Ōtea 2 has launched, I thought it might be appropriate to post this short review on the previous issue, Ōtea 1, that Robyn Kahukiwa (acclaimed author/artist, and comic illustrator in her own right), was kind enough to send me at the time. 

Copyright Zak Waipara 2021

As she says, “…after sharing with my 9yo mokopuna she says it's really good and she wants to read what happens to Kurutai in his next adventures, and she loves the artwork! So that is a great review from her. I am impressed with Ōtea , it is packed with heaps of info and has an engaging story as well as great artwork. Ka mau te wehi!”

Sunday, 29 November 2020

New comic, Ōtea Rock of Ages: Part 2, launched at the Tairāwhiti Arts Festival

I am very pleased to say that Ōtea: Rock of Ages 2 has been completed and published! Order here (or schools and libraries can order from Wheelers). 

It was launched at the Tairāwhiti Arts Festival (Oct 2-12, 2020) in Turanga (Gisborne), as part of a pop-up exhibition at the Tairāwhiti Museum and Art Gallery. 

Image copyright Zak Waipara, 2020

This exhibition, Pepeha: Words and Pictures, was a chance for me to explore indigenous storytelling through comics, and showcase a variety of comic work.

Image copyright Zak Waipara, 2020

For the exhibition, I prepared comic panels from various stories, including Ōtea, to be projected in animated form inside the Tairāwhiti Museum, and this was coupled with a display of three publications: Ōtea: Rock of Ages 1, Ōtea: Rock of Ages 2, and Pepeha - a comic-zine of short pieces related to whakapapa and identity in the Turanganui-a-Kiwa rohe. 

Image copyright Zak Waipara, 2020

Another part of the Festival that I participated in was Te Ara Whiti - the Light Trail. This was an outdoor exhibition, running every night of the Festival, featuring a number of artists working with light in many innovative ways. My contribution was animated versions of comics from the Pepeha comic-zine, projected at a large scale on the side of the Museum. One thing I really liked was that the shadows of trees in the park overlaid the image and became part of the scene. 

Image copyright Zak Waipara, 2020

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Story creation notes: Tikanga

My own comic, Ōtea, is an original story that is built upon the bedrock of Māori stories and traditions. As I wrote the first two parts of Ōtea: Rock of Ages, elements of the plot and themes emerged from the application of cultural principles (tikanga). 

Tikanga can be thought of as a set of rules, protocols for living which abound in all folklore and mythology. For example, in The Hobbit, trolls must be underground before sunrise, lest they turn to stone, but this is an old rule from Northern European legend, that Tolkien did not invent, but made use of as an important plot point. As I wrote and illustrated Ōtea, tikanga provided rules for the development of story, allowing characters to act in accordance with their nature, and providing clues for solving plot problems. 

In the Māori belief system, lizards, green geckos in particular , were thought to be omens of evil. In The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Māori Myth & Legend, Margaret Orbell notes: “Green geckos were especially dreaded when they lifted their heads and emitted chattering sounds thought to be laughter. This was a terrible omen” (p. 154).  Mokokata, the green gecko of Ōtea, was named directly from this belief: moko meaning lizard, and kata (or kakakata) meaning laughter.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Thinking about kupu

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori made me think about all the Māori words and phrases (kupu) that I use in the Ōtea comics. Even though the story is primarily written in English, I've tried to incorporate many kupu Māori: names for animals, stars, planets, places and supernatural beings, of course, but also important cultural concepts and whakatauki (proverbs). Here's an example: Ahurei (unique, important, distinguished).

My aim is to weave these Māori words and ideas into the story in a way that makes them meaningful and evocative for the reader.

I decided to go through the first Ōtea comic, Ōtea: Rock of Ages 1, and create a glossary of all the kupu Māori that I used - just to see how many there really were! So here is the Kuputaka (glossary) if you would like to browse it - link in the top menu too.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Te reo Māori: Consonants


And finally here is the last Ōtea graphic in the series on te reo Māori pronunciation. It's been great seeing the normalisation of te reo throughout Aotearoa lately - long may it continue!


You can also download it from our Ordering and free resources page on this blog. 

Friday, 18 September 2020

Te reo Māori: Diphthongs

Kia ora, here's the third Ōtea language graphic - this one tackles those tricky vowel combinations.


You can also download it from our Ordering and free resources page on this blog. 

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Te reo Māori: Macrons

Ko te rā tuawhā o te Wiki o te Reo Māori tēnei - it's the fourth day of Māori Language Week, and here's the second Ōtea language graphic helping with pronounciation. This one looks at a little line that makes a lot of difference...


You can also download it from our Ordering and free resources page on this blog.