Aniwaniwa thumb
Ko Āniwaniwa / Āniwaniwa

Ko Āniwaniwa / Āniwaniwa

Storyline / Kiko

Āniwaniwa (Rainbow) inherited her name from her kuia. In the story, she paints a rainbow and explains the Māori names for its seven colours. At the end of the story, Āniwaniwa invites readers to find out where their own names come from.


Achievement Objects / Whāinga Paetae

Students should be able to:

  • 1.2 introduce themselves and others and respond to introductions
  • 1.3 communicate about number
  • 2.5 communicate about physical characteristics (colour).

Te Aho Arataki Marau mō te Ako i Te Reo

Learning Context / Kaupapa

This story relates to the topic of Ngā tau/Numbers (Unit 6) in He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora.


He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora

Assessment / Aromatawai

The learning intentions and success criteria below will help determine students’ progress.

The format of the rubrics is similar to that in He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora, allowing for student self-assessment, as well as assessment by:

  • other students (tuākana and tēina)
  • teachers
  • whānau (as a way of engaging families and promoting a partnership between home and school).

The three tohu/symbols in the rubrics indicate different steps of learning, as depicted in the poutama pattern below.

Proverb / Whakataukī

Ngā taonga tuku iho.

Treasures handed down.

Cultural Knowledge / Tikanga 

There are several Māori names for the rainbow; the most common is Āniwaniwa. The girl in the story, Āniwaniwa, was named after her grandmother. Traditionally, it was common for a Māori baby to be named after:

  • a significant ancestor, in order to continue the whakapapa line
  • a special event that coincided with the time pēpi was born.

The author’s mokopuna, who was named after her.

Another traditional practice associated with babies was a baptismal rite called the tohi. This ceremony took place in a streamm where the baby was sprinkled with water by a tohunga, using a branch. The focus was on dedicating the child to a particular atua (deity), for example, Tūmatauenga (war), Rongomātāne (peace and agriculture), and Tangaroa (sea). Traditional karakia (incantations) were said to invoke particular qualities in the child.

Renowned Taranaki tohunga Ruka Broughton (left) performs the tohi ritual for the author’s two sons.

Pre-Reading / I Mua Atu

Before reading the story, talk with students to discover:

  • their previous experiences in relation to the picture on the front cover, as well as their knowledge of how people get their names
  • prior knowledge of relevant vocabulary, language structures, and Māori concepts.

Flashcards / Whakaahua

You could create flashcards to show images of the following content words:

āniwaniwa – rainbow
kuia – grandmother
whero – red
karaka – orange
kōwhai – yellow
kākāriki – green
kahurangi – blue
tuauri – indigo
tuapōkere – violet
whitu – seven
tuatahi, tuarua, tuatoru, tuawhā, tuarima, tuaono, tuawhitu – ordinal numbers, first to seventh

Other Words / Ētahi Atu Kupu

Other words in the text include:

ingoa – name(s)
kara – colour(s)
ātaahua – beautiful
o – of

Grammar / Wetereo

This story includes the following language structures:

  • indefinite article he – a/some (he ingoa ātaahua a beautiful name)
  • definite article te (the)
  • particle ko, used to specify, for example, proper nouns (as in Ko Āniwaniwa taku ingoa)
  • interrogative pēhea? (How about?)
  • particle mai, indicating direction towards the speaker (as in Kōrero mai. Tell us/me.)
  • singular possessives taku (my), tō (your) (there are other words for the singular possessives ‘my’ and ‘your’, but these are the easiest ones).

Follow-Up / I Muri Mai

Second language tasks/activities


Once students are familiar with the text, you can facilitate some of the second language tasks /activities below, working to your students’ strengths and interests. The aim is to extend their proficiency and use of te reo in meaningful contexts.


While facilitating these tasks/activities, remember that you don’t have to be the expert. As conveyed in the Māori concept of ako, you may be in the position of being a learner alongside your students. In fact, some students may want to take the lead. Ka pai tēnā. Nō reira, kia kaha.


For general information on common task types, see He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora. Choose ‘Using tasks and activities’.


He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora


Counting – Students revise their counting in Māori by watching the following animations:

Kotahi rau

Tokohia? E hia?

Sequencing – Give students copies of the sentences containing ordinal numbers, and they sequence the sentences.


Strip story – The seven sentences with ordinal numbers are cut in two, with one half showing the ordinal number and the other describing the colour, for example, Tuarua + he karaka. Students have to join up the sentences, based on their knowledge of the numbers 1 to 7 and the order of the colours in the rainbow.


Cloze activity – Create gaps in the written text for students to complete. A cloze is a good way to help students notice the grammar of te reo Māori, as well as improve their prediction skills and encourage them to make intelligent guesses from context and picture cues.


For example:
Ko Āniwaniwa taku.
Ko te ingoa o kuia hoki.
E ngā kara o te āniwaniwa.


The gaps can represent a consistent part of speech such as nouns or pronouns. Alternatively, words can be deleted at random, for example, every fourth word.


You can make a cloze exercise easier for students by:

  • telling them how many letters are in the missing word
  • providing the first letter
  • giving them a list of words to choose from.

A cloze task can be extended to incorporate listening and speaking, where the teacher reads a piece of text and stops at each missing word, so students can suggest an appropriate word to fill the gap.


True/False (Kei te tika/Kei te hē) – Say or write a statement related to the story, and students have to determine whether it is true (kei te tika) or false (kei te hē). If it’s false, the students have to ‘make it right’. For example:

E whā ngā kara o te āniwaniwa.
The students would need to say it’s false (kei te hē),
then provide the correct statement.
E whitu ngā kara o te āniwaniwa.

Another example could involve the order of the
colours in the rainbow:

Tuatoru, he whero.
Because this is incorrect, the students would
‘make it right’ in two ways, as follows:
Tuatoru, he kōwhai.
Tuatahi, he whero.

Multi-choice – Provide two to four statements and students pick the one that best applies to the story.

For example, the statements could be:
Tuatoru he kākāriki.
Tuatoru he kōwhai.
Tuatoru he kahurangi.
Tuatoru he karaka.


Vocabulary building and writing – Use the following sentence pattern:

E whitu ngā kara. There are seven colours.
Students draw and caption other things that could
come in groups of seven. For example:
E whitu ngā whetū. There are seven stars.
E whitu ngā rā. There are seven days.
E whitu ngā moana. There are seven seas.
E whitu ngā waka. There are seven canoes.


Mini book – Print the mini-book template (with instructions) so every child in your class can take home a mini version of this story to read with whānau.

Song / Waiata

The following waita will support the kaupapa of the story:

Mā is White – a version of the popular colour song (by Poppet Stars) with the addition of weather descriptors and numbers.


Mā is white, whero is red, kākāriki green
Pango is black, mangu is too, A. E. I. O. U.
Kōwhai yellow, pākākā brown, kikorangi blue
Parakaraka is our orange, A. E. I. O. U.
Wera is hot, māku wet, makariri cold
Ua is rain, mahana warm, A. E. I. O. U.
Tahi is one, rua is two, toru number three
Whā is four, rima is five
1, 2, 3, 4 ,5
Ono is six, whitu is seven, waru number eight,
Iwa is nine, tekau is ten 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


He aha te tae? – includes an MP3 and a song sheet.


Other versions are available on YouTube here and here.


Ngā waka e whitu – a song about the seven big canoes that travelled from Hawaiki.

Using The Big Books In Early Childhood

In English-medium ECE settings, where Māori language is a natural part of the programme (as recommended in the Mana reo strand of Te Whāriki), the big books for Reo Tupu stories can be used for shared reading with tamariki.

These stories will allow teachers to weave Māori language and culture into their everyday activities, demonstrating the value they place on te reo and tikanga Māori. This is especially important for enhancing identity, sense of belonging, and well-being. The audio component of the e-books will support teachers and tamariki to pronounce te reo Māori correctly.

Stories / Pakiwaitara

The following stories are relevant to the kaupapa of this reader:

Apanui, H. (2005). Makawe. Wellington: Ministry of Education. (Pīpī reader that introduces colour through people with different-coloured hair.)

Dobson-Waitere, A. (2002). Ngā tae. Wellington: Ministry of Education. (Story about mixing together different colour paints.)

Hunia, F. He kurī . (1984). Wellington: Ministry of Education. (A dog gets into mischief with different coloured paint.)

Acknowledgements / He Mihi

The author would like to acknowledge the teachers she has worked with over the years, inspiring her to create these books. Ināianei kua mātātupu. Ka tuku mihi hoki ki te whānau Laison nō Taranaki me te whānau Takotohiwi nō Ngāti Awa, who nurtured her in te ao Māori; ko te tino koha tēnā.


She also acknowledges with fondness her Māori tutors during decades of learning, particularly Hirini Mead, Tamati Kruger, Wiremu Parker, Keri Kaa, and Ruka Broughton. Also her two non-Māori mentors and role models, Mary Boyce and Fran Hunia. All these people have added to her kete. Kua whetūrangitia ētahi engari kāore e warewaretia ō rātou mahi maha ki te akiaki i a ia. Hei whakamutunga, ka tuku mihi ki āna mokopuna me āna tama – te pū o ēnei pukapuka.

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