Hatupatu and the Birdwoman Activities

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Hatupatu is a figure from Maori legends. With these activities, students will explore and interact with one of Hatupatu's most famous legends, his escape from the Birdwoman.

Hatupatu and Kurangaituku

In the legends of the Maori people, particularly those of New Zealand, Hatupatu was a great hero and warrior who featured in many stories as both a boy and adult. In one of Hatupatu's most famous legends, he is captured by Kurangaituku, the Birdwoman, and kept as her pet until he escapes. These activities can give students creative ways to interact with this legend and learn a bit about Maori culture. The following activities are designed to be adaptable to most grade levels.

Hatupatu and the Birdwoman Activities

Hatupatu's Diary

After learning the legend of Hatupatu and the Birdwoman, students will re-write this as a narrative from Hatupatu's perspective. You may consider asking students to write this as if Hatupatu were keeping a diary of the events. In this first-person narrative, students will re-tell the legend (without changing it too much) but make it more of a story in the sense that they are used to.

  • Materials: Copies of the legend of Hatupatu and the Birdwoman, writing supplies

Comic Book Cover

Hatupatu was a great hero in Maori legends, so it can be pretty easy for students to liken him to the superheroes that are currently in their height of popularity. For this activity, students will design a comic-book style cover for the legend of Hatupatu and the Birdwoman. You may want to show students some examples of Maori art and depictions of traditional Maori warriors for reference. Hatupatu should be depicted as a Maori figure, not an Americanized superhero in tights and cape. Since this is just an in-class activity and not a full art project, sketches and outlines are fine. This does not need to be a polished work of art.

  • Materials: Copies of the legend of Hatupatu and the Birdwoman, paper, art and craft supplies as desired

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