The Eight Gifts of Te Wheke

Book Author & Illustrator Steph Matuku & Laya Mutton-Rogers
Rights Available World excl. NZ

Tamati and his little sister, Aria, are playing on the beach when Aria hurts herself and can’t stop crying. Te Wheke, an octopus, hears her and says he can help. But he tricks Tamati by throwing him a gold coin and a shiny pearl, and while both Tamati’s hands are full, he snatches Aria. To save his sister, Tamati devises a plan to give the octopus eight gifts – one for each of its arms – so that he is forced to let go of Aria to hold them all. With the last gift, though, he tricks the octopus, throwing a snare that wraps around its body, and Tamati, Aria and Mum capture Te Wheke.

Storylines Notable Picture Book 2022

About the Author
Steph Matuku
(Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Mutunga, Te Āti Awa) is a writer of plays and novels for children and young adults. Her previous publications include junior novel Whetū Toa and the Magician, which was a finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in 2019, YA fiction Flight of the Fantail and Falling into Rarohenga and Whetū Toa sequel Whetū Toa and the Hunt for Ramses. Steph is passionate about seeing Māori featured in New Zealand literature – something that was not available to her when she was growing up.

Laya Mutton-Rogers is a freelance illustrator who enjoys making fictional worlds come to life, especially in science fiction, fantasy and comic illustrations.


Huia Publishers


210 mm x 270 mm



Picture Books

Age range
5-8 years

Publication Date
January 2022

Rights Available:
World excl. NZ

Rights Agents:


Eboni Waitere

Contact Huia Publishers about this book

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It’s a delightfully creepy story about an octopus stealing away a little girl. The illustrations are just out of the park.

Catherine Woulfe, The Spinoff

The vibrancy of the narrative combined with illustrations which crackle with colour and energy make this a delightful picture book.

Finalist Judges Comments, NZ Booklovers Awards.