News and Events

Papatūānuku Has a Tummy Ache!

March 8, 2021

“Papatūānuku Has a Tummy Ache!” – book cover.

Inspired by her teaching at local Enviroschool, Kidsfirst Kindergartens Hokitika, a much-loved and respected kaiako has recently published her first book, Papatūānuku Has a Tummy Ache! with the aim to empower young people to, “make a change for sustainability.”

Annette Copping’s book is beautifully composed and illustrated, and introduces tamariki to the issue of filling our landfills with rubbish and how if we listen to Papatūānuku (Earth Mother) we can help make a difference for our environment.

Due to all the rubbish being thrown into her puku, Papatūānuku is feeling sick with a tummy ache. Ranginui (Sky Father) can see the pain she is in and starts to cry. His persistent tears rain down and flood the awa (rivers) and eventually Papatūānuku vomits with rubbish spreading far and wide, all the way to the ocean.

This narrative is based on the local Fox River Landfill disaster in 2019 when over 11,000 rubbish bags of debris were collected in a clean up after the landfill was washed out following extreme weather.

Annette began developing her ideas while teaching children about how lunchbox rubbish can impact on the environment. “Whilst teaching and learning in an Enviroschool, I began seeing how young people related to ‘a tummy ache’ which brought about the idea of the title, personifying Papatūānuku and incorporating a way to gain engagement via emotion and empathy”.

“Being part of the ES kaupapa enhanced my knowledge, awareness and engagement in a need to make changes for sustainability.  The journey allowed our centre to use internal evaluation to bring focus and to find strategies that would enhance learning both in the centre and home environs.  A book is one way to educate and bring about change.” – Annette Copping, kaiako and author

The book is a wonderful teaching resource with te reo Māori and a te ao Māori woven throughout. Included at the back are helpful ‘ideas to create awareness and change’ to support young people, kura, and whānau to reduce waste. The principle of empowering children to take action was very important to Annette.

The post card about the book.

Kidsfirst Hokitika tamariki with their new favourite book.




Department of Conservation has generously donated a copy to each West Coast early childhood centre and primary school.



Banner image: Annette launches her book at Westland District Library