Contact: Lynette Evans, Publisher, Scholastic New Zealand. 09-968-9801,



Scholastic encourages Kiwi kids to celebrate Matariki,

with a new bilingual story and song picturebook


20 March 2017


Scholastic New Zealand is delighted to announce the release of Tāwhirimātea: A Song for Matariki, a new picture book by singer/songwriter June Pitman-Hayes, illustrator Kat Merewether, and Maori lyricist Ngaere Roberts. The new title will be available from 1 May 2017, in time for the Matariki celebrations, due to start on Sunday 25 June.

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades, and for many Māori it heralds the start of a new year. Scholastic published its first Matariki title last year – The Seven Kites of Matariki by Calico McClintock and Dominique Ford – and it received such a positive reception from schools, parents and children that they knew they needed to find other Matariki stories.


 “When asked to teach singing to the children of Meraki Montessori School in Wainui,” says June Pitman-Hayes, “and to bring into that teaching some aspects of Māori culture, I had no idea that this would be a catalyst for embarking on what continues to be an incredible, creative journey in my singer/songwriter career.


“The idea for the song arrived with the wind one blustery winter’s morning in June 2015. Both melody  and lyric presented easily and effortlessly. Observing how quickly the children learned and gained understanding through the Tāwhirimātea waiata, I realised it had the potential to be an illustrated children’s book with music.”

Scholastic Publisher Lynette Evans says, “Matariki has become an important celebration for New Zealanders, and each year it is embraced by more and more families. When we heard June’s heart-stirring and very catchy waiata, we just knew this was a book we had to publish.”

The book’s lyrical text weaves Maori mythology into a story of the seasons and Matariki, and in addition, translator Ngaere Roberts retold the story in te reo. Tāwhirimātea, A Story for Matariki includes a CD featuring the honeyed voice of jazz-singer June Pitman-Hayes singing in both English and Māori language versions.

The book will be available at all good booksellers, through LUCKY Book Club and Scholastic Book Fairs.


About Scholastic New Zealand

Scholastic is the world’s largest children’s book publisher and Scholastic New Zealand has been bringing the best in children’s books to Kiwi kids, Kiwi families and Kiwi schools throughout New Zealand for more than 50 years. With LUCKY Book Club and Book Fairs, Scholastic helps Kiwi kids learn to love books and reading, and works with New Zealand teachers to help build a culture of literacy at their school. For more information visit