How My Koro Became a Star

Book Author & Illustrator Brianne Te Paa & Story Hemi-Morehouse
Rights Available World excl. NZ
Awards Storylines Te Kahurangi Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira Award 2022, Storylines Notable Books List 2022, NZ Booklovers Best Children’s Picture Book 2023, Finalist, New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults for Best Picture Book and Te Kura Pounamu

A young boy learns about the customs around celebrating Matariki from his grandfather. They watch the stars from the top of a mountain, prepare their offering of food for the gods, and the boy learns about Te Waka o Rangi and the tradition of calling out the names of loved ones who have passed away so that they can become stars. Just before Matariki the following year, the boy’s Koro suddenly dies. He gathers and prepares the food offering and asks each family member to come with him up the mountain when Matariki is due to rise, but they all make excuses, and he is disheartened. But when he tells them what Koro taught him, they all climb the mountain before sunrise, follow the rituals Koro carried out and call out Koro’s name so that he can become a star.

About the Author
Brianne Te Paa
(Ngāti Kahu, Ngā Puhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Te Whānau-a-Apanui)  is an Assistant Principal at Kaipara College. She has a Bachelor of Education and a Diploma in Te Pinakitanga ki Te Reo Kairangi. She is passionate about learning and working with young people, and she has always enjoyed writing poetry and short stories



Huia Publishers


245mm x 270 mm

Hardback and Paperback


Picture Books

Age range
5-8 years

Publication Date
May 2022

Rights Available:
World excl. NZ

Rights Agents:


Eboni Waitere

Contact Huia Publishers about this book

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This is a simply stunning book, steeped in tradition, that moved our whānau to tears. Tears of joy that a book like this finally exists, tears of empathy as the little boy finds his whānau are all busy, and tears as we remembered our loved ones who are now stars

Rebekah Lyell, NZ Booklovers

What a beautiful story. So much is shared between these pages. There is rhyme, and beautiful moving illustrations. There is the bond across generations and then the passing of custom to generations in between.
There is a story of Matariki and one of a family re-bonding below it.

Adele Broadbent, What Book Next

Hemi-Morehouse beautifully captures the family’s grief to accompany this poem blending Māori and English.

Ann Packer, The Listener New hard cover edition