Children & Young Adult Books:

Kiwi Moon


Paperback / softback

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Kiwi Moon by Gavin Bishop
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17.65% of people buy Kiwi Moon and Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story ~ Hardback ~ Gavin Bishop.


Created by well-known children's writer and illustrator Gavin Bishop, this is the story of a little white kiwi. When he is born his mother doesn't recognise him because he's not brown. Little Kiwi looks to the moon as his mother instead because it is white and bright and round. In the background of this story we see the changing times of a nearby pa.

Through illustrations only we see intertribal warfare, the death of the chief, English soldiers arriving and then the burning of the pa. This fire spreads and the two stories become one as the white kiwi's habitat is razed to the ground. On the surface this is a very simple story but it also contains themes of intertribal warfare, European colonisation of New Zealand, Maori / Pakeha relations, and conservation.

There is a lot to savour on each page – with Gavin's stunning illustrations of the main kiwi story, the on-going images of the pa, plus close-ups of insects and plants.


“Gavin Bishop’s KIWI MOON is the picture book of 2005. If you have small children, run out and buy it.” – David Larsen, Listener, Dec 17, 2005 “Weaving history and legend, Gavin Bishop sets his dramatic tale of an albino kiwi and Te Marama – the moon – against a traditional Maori and later colonial backdrop of settlement, war and forest fire. The ending is celebratory and magical, the illustrations – plant and portrait – beautifully rendered and deeply engaging. A Kiwi classic in the making.” – Dylan Owen, Dominion Post, Dec 3 2005

“At first glance, this beautiful picture book simply tells the story of the relationship between an albino Kiwi and the moon. Looked at more carefully, the book’s pictures reveal a second narrative. In the background there is pa. A war canoe arrives, a challenge is made, the chief dies. Then a group of British soldiers is seen marching; scenes of fighting follow and the pa’s wooden palisades burn. Finally the pa site is shown as an abandoned hill, while on the cleared land below is covered with dozens of tree stumps. The various aspects of this book interact with each other brilliantly, creating a smooth effect. Gavin Bishop has created an accessible and unified fable. Over the years, Gavin Bishop has created many wonderful books but Kiwi Moon is his best so far; a classic of the future.” – Trevor Agnew, The Source, (Aust/NZ website for Children’ Literature) 2005

Release date Australia
November 14th, 2008
Country of Publication
New Zealand
Random House New Zealand Ltd
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