A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

English / New Zealand

Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill. A story from the Rena disaster

McCauley, Debbie (text)
Waaka, Tamati (transl.)
Tauranga, NZ: Mauāo Publ., 2014. – 32 p.
ISBN 978-0-473-26869-5
Text in English and Māori

Environmental destruction – Bilingual book

Mōtītī Island is a small island off the north-eastern coast of New Zealand’s north island. In October 2011, a large container ship ran aground on a reef close to the island and spilled about 350 tons of heavy fuel oil into the ocean, causing the country’s worst maritime environmental disaster to date. This well-designed bilingual book consists of two parallel parts: One is the tale of a particular blue penguin, little Mōtītī Blue, during the four months following the catastrophe, told as a continuous story in English and Te Reo Māori. Woven into it is the second part, which features photographs as well as boxes with additional interesting facts. The book provides a wealth of information about the collision, the environmental damage, and the large-scale rescue mission that, with the help of 8,000 volunteers and 800 people on the Oil Spill Response Team, managed to remove 1,000 tons of toxic waste from the beaches and saved hundreds of birds, including 365 little blue penguins. (Age: 5+)