Thursday 13th June saw a last minute shipment of extra books land at Unity Books Wellington as the launch of educational comic book Te Tiriti o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi drew a packed out crowd, all eager to take home a copy or two, or three.
The authors hit the ground running with Mark Derby getting straight down to some signing as the quickly massing attendants picked up a drink and a copy of the book. It was down to Unity’s Marion Castree to bring the excited crowd to order with a stately bilingual welcome. Marion introduced Lift Education Chief Executive Alex Collins, who gave some background on the genesis and development of this comic book retelling of the history of the Treaty of Waitangi. Alex introduced and handed over to Hōne Apanui to officially launch the book. A consultant to the Ministry of Education instructional series of books published by Lift Education, Hōne has a lifetime’s experience working in Maori education and publishing and spoke movingly on the importance of recognising the provisions of the treaty in the field of education. Illustrator Toby Morris completed the speeches, recalling his initial reaction when approached with the project as ‘too hard!’ Of course, he was more than equal to the task, as demonstrated by the huge attendance and warm applause received at the launch of this essential book for all NZ schools and homes.
Words and photos John Duke