Te Wehenga

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About the Author

Mat Tait is a South Island-based illustrator of European and M?ori descent. He gained a BFA in painting from Ilam School of Arts and now lives and works in the Motueka area.

Prior to Te Wehenga, Mat's most recent book was The Adventures of Tupaia with writer Courtney Sina Meredith, for which he was the recipient of the Russell Clark Award for Illustration at the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. His comics work has been published widely both locally and internationally, including The Heading Dog Who Split In Half with writer Dr Michael Brown.

Mat is a fluent speaker of te reo M?ori. He tutors under the kaupapa of Te Ataarangi, and continues to learn.


Tait's writing is poetic and full of wairua. He threads heart and feeling through the fabric of the book. These illustrations are like nothing I've seen before. They are simply stunning - moody, dark and dripping with meaning Te Wehenga is a masterpiece that is so much more than 'just a book'. It belongs on every bookshelf. - Rebekah Fraser, NZ Book Lovers

In Te Wehenga, the art and the words are all Mat's, and the end result is an absolute treasure. - Briar Lawry, The Sapling

Te Wehenga The Separation of Ranginui and Papat??nuku is a bold and beautiful thing. It is all so very ... finely furious, so vigorously shown, it seems as sure a celebration of the body and also therefore of humanity itself. It is a triumph, a taonga, a treasure.'- S J Mannion, takah? magazine

'What an extraordinary, special, hold to your heart, savour in your ear and eye, cradle in your arms, the sublime Te Wehenga: The Separation of Ranginui and Papat??nuku by Mat Tait is. The book retells the the M?ori creation story, of sky-father, Ranginui, and earth-mother, Papat??nuku. Fluent in both languages, Matt weaves te reo M?ori and English; the stunning internal design brings together word and image so magnificently, with such movement, you are in the dark, you feel the darkness.
And this is what makes this book so utterly special. It is a book you feel. It is a creation story you feel. I feel the claustrophobia, the struggle, the discussion, the disagreement, the resolve and determination, the pain and the sadness, the separation and the connection, and I feel such hope. I feel the move from dark to light in the pores of my skin, such an intake of breath. Such a physical trembling and emotional uplift.
This is a book you must read and share and celebrate. The artwork is stunning, the interplay of languages is necessary, the gift of this book in the world immeasurable.' Paula Green, Poetry Box

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