Māori wisdom book Aroha, by Waiheke’s Dr Hinemoa Elder has been recommended by Oprah’s Book Club as part of a new series on AppleTV+ called The Me You Can’t See.

Oprah has joined forces with Prince Harry for the new docuseries to steer honest discussion about mental health, guided by an advisory board of acclaimed mental health professionals from around the world.

Those professionals and a few of the show’s featured guests shared book recommendations for going deeper on the subject, including Shaun Robinson, CEO of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand who picked Elder’s Aroha – Māori wisdom for a contended life lived in harmony with the planet. 

“It’s amazing,” Elder told Gulf News. “Part of me is still in shock. I think I’m one of the few people from Aotearoa to have been on her book list.

“What it means to me is, it does feel like following in the footsteps of our tūpuna, following the ancestors of Te Wharehuia Milroy. To go forth and share our culture and share these aspects of our reo and tikanga, it feels like I am on the right track, that this is what I am supposed to be doing.”

The te reo champion uses Aroha to share 52 whakataukī – traditional Māori life lessons – to help readers find greater kindness and contentment in their lives.

“My whanau are so excited for me, for the book and for our cultural approaches to be acknowledged in this way,” said Elder. “It’s incredible, it feels very special.

“Oprah is an amazing woman, an extraordinary pioneer in her field, I think she’s amazing. To be associated with her book club is incredibly prestigious. It’s an amazing and quite mindblowing time for me and my whanau.”

Oprah’s Book Club is recommending Aroha through its list on Apple Books. Aroha is also available locally in hardback at Paper Plus Waiheke. • Liza Hamilton 

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