Dunedin mothers Kitty Brown (left) and Kirsten Parkinson created bilingual publishing company Reo Pepi to give pre-schoolers the opportunity to learn te reo. Photo by Christine O'Connor.
Wanting the best for their children and a lack of junior te
reo books led two Dunedin mothers to start their own
bilingual publishing company.
Reo Pepi will launch on Thursday at the University Book Shop
with 1000 copies each of pre-school stories Kanohi [my
face], Kararehe [animals] and Kakahu
The brainchild of Kitty Brown and Kirsten Parkinson, the idea
came three years ago, as the priority in their lives became
"When you have little children, you start thinking that you
want to make the best of yourself,'' Mrs Brown said.
"We wanted to make [te reo and reading] part of our whanau.
It just sort of happened that we were thinking along the same
lines. There wasn't a lot out there [te reo books for babies
and toddlers] and I thought 'Well there could definitely be
more in this space'.''
Mrs Brown authored the books while Mrs Parkinson, an artist,
They received a start-up grant from South Island iwi
partnership fund Te Putahitanga, and self-published the books
with help from editor Fern Whitau and printing company
"We've had some really good responses. We've had some
approaches from national ... distributors.''
The pair, of Ngai Tahu decent, were working to have the
titles stocked in bookstores around the country and already
had plans for further publication.
Digital copies were also in the pipeline.
They were focusing on early childhood themes and hoped to get
them into early learning centres and schools.
"We're researching now, the concepts that sort of go along
with learning,'' Mrs Brown said.
"We would love to get them into schools if teachers found
them appropriate. It's a goal for us ... ''