Review 1

Saturday January 28, 2012

By Whakatane Library Staff

Marnie Anstis, illustrated by Patricia Howitt

TAKETAKERAU – The Millennium Tree is a beautifully presented book focusing on one of the Eastern Bay’s major natural treasures.

Taketakerau is a massive puriri tree (Vitex lucens) that stands in the Hukutaia Domain among a fine stand of native bush, 10 kilometres inland from Opotiki. The mighty tree is estimated to be 2000 years old and attracts hundreds of visitors each year.

Skilfully told by Marnie Anstis, this story tells of its germination as a seedling in the forest right through to the present day.

The text is magnificently supported by painted illustrations by Patricia Howitt with additional drawings from Kelly Spencer.

The story of the magnificent tree and the illustrations alone have a wonderful appeal. Making this book extra special is a timeline format running along with the illustrations that places the life of the tree in historical context.

There are details about New Zealand history and major world events. The value of the book is many-fold – celebrating nature and teaching appreciation of it plus offering understanding of times past and this country’s natural wonders.

An added delight of Taketakerau The Millennium Tree is a listing of stamp-sized colour illustrations at the back of the book. These are accompanied by very informative explanations about what is depicted.

The book explains that when the Maori encountered the tree they were in awe of it and gave it a special name of its own, Taketakerau, meaning old strong trunk to support many leaves.
The tree was made sacred and for centuries was used as a place to lay the bones of revered ancestors.

Taketakerau The Millennium Tree is great reading for all ages and is highly recommended for families to enjoy. It can be found at Whakatane District Libraries with the call number JF Big Mar.

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