Aunty Bea tells the story of Rotorua's two famous lovers

By sonya.bateson@dailypost.co.nz, Sonya Bateson


It's all about the kids for Aunty Bea, who is about to release her fifth children's book, about Hinemoa and Tutanekai - a story many in Rotorua know.

The ever popular Beatrice Yates, known to the children and grown-ups of Rotorua as Aunty Bea, will release Hinemoa raua ko Tutanekai next week.

Her first published children's book, One Day a Taniwha, was released in 2009 - although many will remember the days of sitting on the mat while Aunty Bea read the same stories aloud from her handmade books, some of which date back to the 1970s.

The Hinemoa and Tutanekai book started out as a handwritten A3-bound book written by Aunty Bea, with pictures hand drawn by June Grant, in 1975.

Aunty Bea said she decided to do this new book when she was looking for the original and discovered someone had taken it, although luckily she had a photocopied version.

She said the story of the two lovers Hinemoa and Tutanekai, her own ancestors, was an important one for both Rotorua and New Zealand.

"When you come to Rotorua Maori concerts, they're singing Pokarekare Ana and they tell the story to the guests, but they couldn't take a book back with them. Now I can say to them there is a book. It's a wonderful story to take back, they will remember Rotorua with the story."

Aunty Bea said this book was for all the children she had taught over the years.

"It's for all of them because they gave me the hope, the inspiration and the love. I'm an aunty to them, we have a special bond. My hope is when it's time for me to say good night, they will have a set of books that will still be going and they will remember all the wonderful times we shared together. To me, it's about the children - look after them and give them good resources to hold on to and treasure."

Remembering the two revered Ngati Whakaue ancestors from Owhata was another reason for Aunty Bea to publish this story.

Included with the book was a CD with waiata (songs) such as Pokarekare Ana, compiled by Rodger Cunningham. The illustrations were done by Te Awamutu's Kat Quin Merewether - with plenty of direction from Aunty Bea.

The next book Aunty Bea would like to write will be the story of Tamatekapua, the captain of the Te Arawa waka, whom the meeting house at Ohinemutu was named after.

The launch of Hinemoa raua ko Tutanekai will be on Wednesday at the Rotorua Library at 4:30pm.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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