The gift of Mamaku is a non-fiction story. It is set in the present time. Yet one of the central characters is a very special man, from a time long ago. He is a Tupuna, or ancestor, to the first people of this land, Aotearoa.
The story has many facets, and not all are noticed at the first reading. The story is loved by people of all ages, from two to ninety.
The illustrations show things which are symbolic, and at the same time are very real.
The Takarangi, or life force spiral, has a powerful presence within the plants of the forest, and the powerful aspect of the Mamaku pikopiko, the curled spiral shoot.
This is the mysterious, dark and central new fern frond, still unfurled and growing.The spiral is also seen in the Moko, traditional facial tattoo of the Tupuna.
The spiral symbol, has held a sacred and powerful significance to many cultures of the world, in ancient times.The spiral has been seen on ancient stones and temples from places in the world such as Mesopotamia, Crete, Cornwall, Ireland and throughout the Celtic world. It has represented the creation, the beginning of everything – of the the stars and the universe. It could be called the God force, that permeates all things.
Children are the future of all cultures. The story of The Gift of Mamaku, is not just about something miraculous and magical that happens to one individual.It is about love, learning,and sharing that crosses the boundaries of time and culture, between the first people of this land, and the second people, who now share this, their mutual homeland.
The Tupuna in the story, wants most of all, for the children of all cultures to hear him and to know him. He wants them to know something about the past – the beauty, wisdom and power from the old days, brought into the present time.
We are all caretakers of this land. Some have forgotten, or do not know how to care for it, as their roots are lost, and unknown to them.
Perhaps people need to find a true sense of belonging to this land, that they have made their home. For this to happen, a sense of “oneness” with the land and the forces of nature, may need to be found. The “God force” of this, our Mother planet, permeates us, and therefore our lives, everything around us, and all living things.
This is so, whether we know it, believe in it, or not. This is our home, and we have no other. – Robina.
“THE GIFT OF MAMAKU”, is written for children from about eight years. However, younger children from about two years, love being told the story and looking at the pictures.
This is a true story of unconditional love, and has many facets. A Tupuna from long ago, enters the story and becomes very important, to the central characters, a mother and her sick daughter.
Some years later, the incomplete manuscript and some artwork was shown to Taini Drummond, Kaitiaki (Treasure Keeper) for Ngai Tai Tribe, who immediately identified the Tupuna’s Moko. She was able to confirm his true identity and his importance to the Ngai Tai people and their children.
His significance for other Pacific Island Children was later revealed.
This book is available in English, will soon be available in Samoan, with plans to translate it into other Pacific Island languages and Chinese and Japanese.