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11 — How Maui Tamed the Sun, a New Zealand folktale

Map of New Zealand showing topography

Above: Topographic map of New Zealand, public domain image, no copyright

This sequence will focus on the Maori folktale ‘Maui Tames the Sun’. Students will examine the points of view of the different characters in the story.

As with the other sequences focusing on folktales from other countries, it is important to familiarise the students with New Zealand, its place in the world, its people and culture, and its relationship to Australia.

Activity 1: Point of view

Share the story of ‘Maui Tames the Sun’ with the students. Discuss the main features of the text and identify the main characters, the problem they faced and the solution. Record the students’ observations on the board. Discuss the points of view of the different characters in the folktale. ACELY1675

Use the following questions as prompts to start the students thinking about the different points of view of the characters:

Have the students complete the Point of view chart worksheet that lists the main events as discussed at the beginning of the activity, the characters and what their point of view might have been at that time.

Activity 2: Points of view

Revisit the folktale ‘Maui Tames the Sun’ with the students. Discuss how each character would have viewed the others differently. Make explicit to the students that these inferential meanings can be gained from the language of the text. Maui and his brothers would have seen themselves as clever, strong and brave, and would have seen the Sun as fierce and dangerous. The Sun would have seen himself as strong and fast, and may have seen Maui and his brothers as aggressive and warrior-like. ACELY1675

Each student will need an A4 sheet of paper and drawing materials. Folding their piece of paper in half, have the students select one of the characters and draw them from the different points of view. For example, the Sun as he viewed himself on one side and the Sun as viewed by Maui and his brothers on the other.

If the students find it difficult to imagine what the Sun might look like, display images from other texts or from an online search as a prompt for this activity. (Images of the sun as represented in artwork about the story can be found on a Google Images search of the title.)

Have the students list on the other side of their drawings the personal qualities (with evidence from the text) that each character saw.