Chris Gurney
The Fairies and the Cloakmaker

Christmas is approaching, and Kahu the cloakmaker has only enough materials left to make one cloak. But that night, as he and his wife sleep, they are visited by patupaiarehe, who make the finest cloak they have ever seen!

"Tahi, rua, toru wha, we bring feathers from afar.
Our flying fingers weave a cloak,
for we are special fairy folk ..... Patupaiarehe."

The Story Behind the Book


To rewrite the story of 'The Elves and the Shoemaker' I needed to research Maori mythology to learn more about native fairy folk. I discovered that in Maori traditions, patupaiarehe* are fairy-like people who live in the forest or on the misty mountain tops. They had light skin and red or fair hair. Find out more about the patupaiarehe.
* Patupaiarehe - pronounced: Pah-too-pah-ee-ah-reh-heh.

Diana Murray, Scholastic NZ Publishing Manager at that time, shares the behind the scenes story from a publisher’s point of view -

"There were twists and turns in bringing this book to publication, as we had to consider things such as whether men can weave cloaks Patupaiarehe(yes, our research tells us, they can) and what patupaiarehe might look like (bright red hair, pale skin).

At one stage, the title was going to be The Patupaiarehe* and the Cloakmaker, but we were concerned that such a complicated looking word in the title might be off-putting to non-Maori speakers and changed it to The Elves and the Cloakmaker – which begged the question whether patupaiarehe are elves? After research and consultation, we decided yes, that would be fine."...

The Elves and the Cloakmaker - Page 2-3
The Elves and the Cloakmaker - Page 4-5


The Elves and the Cloakmaker is the latest title in the Kiwi Corkers series from Scholastic. Written by Chris Gurney and illustrated by John Bennett, I think this is one of the first, if not the first, Christmas book with a Maori theme. Chris and John have taken the idea of the original Elves and the Shoemaker story and given it a New Zealand twist... read more
Picture Book Nook

The Elves and the Shoemaker tale is transformed into a New Zealand story with not shoes but Maori cloaks as the magical product. Instead of elves it's the special fairy folk from Maori tales called the Patupaiarehe - pronounced: Pah-too-pah-ee-ah-reh-heh.'The Elves and the Cloakmaker' is bound to be enjoyed by Kindergarten and Junior-Middle Primary School children. They'll love the language and humorous illustrations... read more
Kids Books NZ

This is another great book from the Kiwi Corkers series. The Cloakmaker and his wife are very endearing (the affection between them is gorgeous), the illustrations are superb, and there are even some opportunities to pronounce te reo Maori... read more
Otago Daily Times


The Fairies and the Cloakmaker - Teaching Guide

Story Sequencing sheet

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The Fairies and the Cloakmaker
The Fairies and the Cloakmaker
Illustrated by John Bennett
Publisher Scholastic New Zealand, 2011
ISBN Paperback 978-1-77543-654-6
Age 3+
RRP Paperback $14.99
Where to buy this book from The Nile
Where to buy this book from Paperplus
Where to buy this book from Book Depository

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