Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Aotearoa New Zealand, Comics, General

Comics and Graphic Novels on Waitangi Day

Just a short post today highlighting some comics and graphic novels which might be of interest on Waitangi Day (and through the rest of the year too).

First up, Te Tiriti o Waitangi by Toby Morris with Ross Calman and Mark Derby. This is an excellent book which developed from a series of web articles. It has both English and Te Reo M?ori versions in the same book.

It’s an engaging, informative and accessible way into thinking about the history of the Treaty of Waitangi and its relevance today.

The Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi (2021)

Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi also provides access to the Treaty in New Zealand Sign Language and thirty other languages thanks to the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters who provided access to their translations of the M?ori and English-language versions of the Treaty.

Related online articles and interviews about the book include:

Other related graphic material by Toby Morris:

An assortment of other comic-based material connecting to identity in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Aotearoa Whispers: The Awakening (2011)
By Gonzalo Navarro

Aotearoa Whispers: The Awakening is a graphic novel written and created by Gonzalo Navarro. It is a story about cultural identity and the journey thirteen year old Kahi goes on with his grandmother to rediscover his Maori heritage and identity. Set in Christchurch/?tautahi, the story weaves together contemporary, historical and mythological themes.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is the story in English, the second is the story translated into Te Reo M?ori and the final part are sketches and notes from the creator.

Maui: Legends of the Outcast (1997)
By Chris Slane & Robert Sullivan

Chris Slane and Robert Sullivan took the well-known story of the demigod M?ui and turned it into a short graphic novel for children.

More on this (and other NZ comics) at Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand: Maui: legends of the outcast, 1996

Hicksville (1998)
By Dylan Horrocks

An exploration, in part, of identity and the search for home through the lens of comics and comic creators. (This is a book I find myself thinking about regularly)

More on Horrocks’ work are:

It’s a story about comics – their history and poetry – and also about what we New Zealanders call ‘t?rangawaewae’ – having a place to stand in the world – a kind of spiritual home. Hicksville is my way of creating such a home for comics. But it’s also about NZ history and – oh, all kinds of stuff.

Dylan Horrocks in “Dylan Horrocks: The First Name in Magic”

Huia Publishers

Over the past 10-15 years or so, Huia Publishers have produced a number of graphic novels in both Te Reo M?ori and English capturing stories relating to Aotearoa New Zealand.

You can find them in their catalogue online at:

The Story of Ngarara Huarau (2016)
By Paul Andersen & Joseph Potangaroa, illustrated by Mikis Van Geffen
Published by Rangitane o Wairarapa Incorporated

Web site:

PDF download

Ngarara Huarau is a traditional story from Te Whiti which is an area to the east of Masterton in the Wairarapa Region. The tale of the how the warrior Tupurupuru tamed the mighty taniwha Ngarara Huarau is a favourite with children but has entertained people of all ages for centuries.

Many of the places mentioned in this story are able to be visited. Some are accessible on foot, others can be viewed from the road. See the map over page for details.

Wairau, 1843 – Wars in the White Cloud #1
by Matt McKinley

Graphic novel about one part of the New Zealand Land Wars.

News articles about the graphic novel:

PDF resource about the author and the book:

Wairau, 1843 is the first in the Wars in the Whitecloud graphic novel series that vividly brings to life important events in the early interactions between Maori and Pakeha.  This first book portrays the ill-fated meeting between early settlers and the Ngati-Toa tribe at Wairau in 1843.  It was a short but violent and bloody conflict and the author hasn’t shied away from portraying this.  M.H. McKinley stays true to these historic events while bringing to life both Maori and Pakeha figures who played a part in the conflict.  There are also extensive historical notes at the back of the book so that you can learn more about the events and the people involved.