Peter Gossage was the storyteller and illustrator of more than 20 books for children. His powerful retelling of Maori myths and legends have captivated the children of New Zealand for generations.
Peter's first job on leaving school was at an advertising agency, and his drawings of Maori motifs on a television commercial drew interest from a publisher. This led to a career retelling and illustrating Maori legends for children. He also worked as a display artist at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and as a graphic designer and scenic artist at TV2.
With his first book How Maui-tiki-tiki-a-Taranga Found His Mother published in 1975, Peter's iconic illustration style and deceptively simple storytelling will be familiar to many as classics in New Zealand homes and classrooms. He was a master of retelling important Maori myths, including Hinemoa and Tutanekai and Pania of the Reef. Many of the legends feature the hero Maui - also called the quick-witted and the trickster - whose exploits include slowing the sun in its course across the sky, fishing up the North Island/Te Ika a Maui and discovering the secret of fire.
The powerful combination of dramatic and distinctive illustrations with minimal yet evocative text has earned each tale its place among the beloved classics of our literature. Peter's stories will never lose their relevancy for New Zealand children, and many of his stories have been made into short films that are played on Maori Television.
In 2013, Peter was awarded the Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-Loved Book for How Maui Slowed the Sun.