Where’s your Mauri Tau?

Few resources and a need for whānau connection led to a new learning book, Kei whea a Mauri Tau – Where is Mauri Tau.

The book was created to help children recognise, describe and manage emotions such as anxiety, worry, anger, hurt and feelings of missing loved ones. Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki, a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at the University of Waikato teamed up with clinical psychologists Andre McLachlan from Wintec and Lisa Cherrington to create a therapeutic story for teachers, health practitioners and whānau.

Their book draws on Māori oral traditions and pūrākau (stories) woven together with modern practices of stress management and mindfulness. The book encourages tamariki to go on an adventure guided by atua Māori (ancestors/gods) to find Mauri Tau, a magical bird who will help them learn to be calm and settled.

“When we went into our first lockdown, there weren’t really any resources for whānau to work with their children who were struggling with anxiety,” Dr Waitoki says. “What we saw online was that parents were talking about not being able to touch or have contact with whānau – we had our individual bubbles but couldn’t go and see Nan or family members any more. It was really worrying for kids.”

Kei whea a Mauri Tau in English and Te Reo Māori is available as a free pdf download and audio file from He Paiaka Totara, or can be purchased through the New Zealand Psychological Society.

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