A story about Māui

A story about Māui

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This task is about reading to find information and make inferences.
Read "A story about Māui" to answer the following questions.
Māui was restless. As was his custom, when preoccupied, he paced up and down in front of his mother's house, frowning in concentration. On seeing him so withdrawn, his friends debated among themselves what to do to raise his spirits. But something in his face, so stern and forbidding, held them back. Even the village dogs slunk past, as if expecting him to turn on them without warning, and send them yelping with a kick.
What was the cause of his unrest? His mother, wiser than all women, had her suspicions, but she sighed and went on with her basket weaving, and said nothing.
Māui turned at the end of his walk and irritably whacked his thigh with his greenstone club. Ground to a translucent edge, superbly polished, it was a deadly weapon – fit for the greatest warrior. But to Māui, the beautiful club, thonged loosely to his wrist, might well have been a child's toy, for all the pride he took in it.
Again he turned in his walk, and continued striding. Yes, it was true he had his magic spells and incantations, but what he needed most was a magic weapon – one so potent he could quell the evil spirits and demons that thronged the bush and the fishing places, and made man's life intolerable.


a) Which word in the story best describes Māui's mother?
    • Suspicious

    • Wise

    • Sad

    • Hardworking


b)  Which word from the story best describes Māui's friends?
    • Scared

    • Argumentative

    • Concerned

    • Angry


c)  According to the story, which statement is true?
    • Māui's club was a child's toy.

    • Māui was proud of his club.

    • Māui's club was a deadly weapon.

    • Māui's club was magical.

Question 1Change answer

d)  What did Māui usually do when he was thinking about a problem?

Question 1Change answer

e)  Explain in your own words, what stopped Maui's friends from trying to cheer him up.

Question 1Change answer

f)  Explain in your own words, why Māui needed a magic weapon.

Question 1Change answer

g)  Write down three words that are used in the story to help describe Māui's mood.
Curriculum info: 
Description of task: 
Students read a short extract from a legend to answer retrieval and inferential questions.
Curriculum Links: 
Links to the Literacy Learning Progressions for Reading:
This resource helps to identify students’ ability to:
  • use comprehension strategies
as described in the Literacy Learning Progressions for Reading at: http://www.literacyprogressions.tki.org.nz/The-Structure-of-the-Progressions.
Learning Progression Frameworks
This resource can provide evidence of learning associated with within the Reading Learning Progressions Frameworks.
Read more about the Learning Progressions Frameworks.

Y8 (06/1999)

a) Wise easy
b) Concerned moderate
c) Māui's club was a deadly weapon. moderate
d) He paced up and down outside his mother's house. moderate
e) Any 1 of:

  • He looked angry and unapproachable.
  • Because of his facial expressions.
  • They were scared of him.
f) To control/beat the bad spirits (in the bush and sea). difficult
g) Any 3 of:

  • restless
  • withdrawn
  • irritably
  • preoccupied
  • frowning
  • stern
  • forbidding
  • unrest