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Witi Ihimaera's latest book brings Māori creation myths to a modern audience

Celebrated New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera's latest book is one he was "born to write", he says.

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‘Navigating the Stars’ is an attempt to re-tell traditional Māori myths for a modern audience. Source: Breakfast

Navigating the Stars was published on November 6 and re-tells several Māori creation myths from a modern perspective for a modern audience.

Most Kiwis will be familiar with the stories of Māui, but Ihimaera's book also includes myths about lesser-known figures like Tāwhaki and Hine-titama.

Speaking to Breakfast, Ihimaera said he absorbed the stories as a child.

"I've tried to contemporise all of the stories by bringing in a modern relevancy in terms of not just the characters but in terms of the themes," he said.

"There are huge environmental themes in our Māori myths and legends, there are huge politics with regard to relationships between women and men, there are huge politics in relation to one tribe and another tribe," he said.

"So, I think these are lessons for our future - lessons for our ancient futures for our future ancient peoples.

"The theme of it is if you want to know where you're going, you must know the stars - so I'm hoping that this book will be one of those stars that our children can look to as they travel from one star to the next stars across the heavens until they reach their own pillar star.

"The pillar star is the one that shines on their destination, the island below, and every one of us has got that destination to get to."