Watercress Tuna and the Children of Champion Street

Written by Patricia Grace

Illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa

Published by Puffin, 1984

ISBN: 0-140-50492-3

NZC activities for this picture book here.

A tuna (eel) with a magic throat travels to Champion Street, a typical inner city New Zealand street with compact state housing and power lines. There the tuna presents gifts to the children who live there. The gifts all represent the children’s own cultural heritages – a kie for Kelehia and a hau for Kava (Tokelauan), a piupiu for Hirini and a poi for Roimata (New Zealand Maori), a pate for Tuaine and a pareu for Nga (Cook Island Maori), and an ula for Losa and an ailao afi for Fa’afetai (Samoan). The theme of this story is Pasifica, with  four key Pacific cultures being represented within the story. Grace also alludes to gender roles within each culture, by assigning gender specific ‘gifts’ from the tuna.

Summary written by Marion McKoy

Book cover used with permission of publisher