Winning Team Releases Abel Tasman Children’s Book


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The winning author/illustrator duo that scooped up the supreme children’s book award – the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year in 2016 – has again teamed up with publisher Scholastic New Zealand to produce another exciting resource for children, this time one that brings the first known European journey to New Zealand alive in stunning illustrations and captivating text.


Long-established children’s author Maria Gill and talented young illustrator Marco Ivancic are a proven team. “Maria and Marco’s latest collaboration, Abel Tasman, Mapping the Southern Lands is a testament to their unique blend of fact and adventure that brings history to life in an exciting, accessible way for children so we can tell our New Zealand stories,” says Scholastic Publishing Manager Lynette Evans.


The story grew from Gill’s visit to the Tasman region in the South Island, where she first learned of the altercation between Māori and Tasman’s crew in Golden Bay. “I’d never heard the story before,” says Gill “and I thought kids would find it really interesting — plus it is an important part of New Zealand and Dutch history. Abel Tasman and his crew were most likely the first Europeans the Aboriginal people of Australia and the Māori of New Zealand had ever seen. As well as being an important historical story for New Zealand and Australia, the maps Abel Tasman drew put Tasmania, New Zealand and several Pacific Islands on the global map for the first time.”


With 2017-2018 marking the 375th anniversary of Abel Tasman’s journey, the timing couldn’t be better, and there is much excitement and support for the book from the Dutch Ambassador in New Zealand, Rob Zaagman, as well as in the wider community, with a host of launch events planned.