Nominated by:

Auckland Libraries, New Zealand

Publisher of nominated edition:

Vintage Random House New Zealand

Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings

Tina Makereti      

2016 Longlist

From the Chatham Islands/Rekohu to London, from 1835 to the 21st century, this quietly powerful and compelling novel confronts the complexity of being Moriori, Maori and Pakeha.

In the 1880s, Mere yearns for independence. Iraia wants the same but, as the descendant of a slave, such things are hardly conceivable. One summer, they notice their friendship has changed, but if they are ever to experience freedom they will need to leave their home in the Queen Charlotte Sounds.

A hundred years later, Lula and Bigs are born. The birth is literally one in a million, as their mother, Tui, likes to say. When Tui dies, they learn there is much she kept secret and they, too, will need to travel beyond their world, to an island they barely knew existed.

Neither Mere and Iraia nor Lula and Bigs are aware that someone else is part of their journeys. He does not watch over them so much as through them, feeling their loss and confusion as if it were his own.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings is Tina Makereti’s first novel. It won the 2014 Nga Kupu Ora Maori Book Awards Fiction Prize. In October 2012 Makereti was Writer in Residence at the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt, and in 2013 she was Curator-at-Large for the New Zealand Film Archive. Makereti has a PhD in Creative Writing from Victoria University, and teaches creative writing and English at Massey and Victoria Universities. She now lives on the Kapiti Coast with her partner, two daughters and unruly dog.

Librarian’s Comments

This book tackles difficult themes like depression, identity, and prejudice with technical skill but also emotional urgency. The characters are absorbing and realistic, in a world where the mythic and the mundane are beautifully blended.

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