Where the Rekohu Bone Sings

Where the Rekohu Bone Sings

Book - 2014
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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.
Publisher: Auckland :, Vintage,, 2014.
Branch Call Number: HISTORICAL
Characteristics: 278 pages ;,24 cm


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From Library Staff

Spanning from the 1800s to present day, this novel is about the trials, complexities, and meaning behind being Moriori, Maori or Pakeha in New Zealand. This is at once a powerful, multi-faceted novel of family and love, a historical account of Moriori and the Chatham Islands, and of modern-day Ne... Read More »

Another book group read. Set in the Chatham Islands and moves between last century and present day. Moving, emotional and poignant, this book will stay with you long after you finish. I took this Bali with me last year on holiday and it certainly set me thinking. Highly recommend!

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Jun 07, 2021

I found this book an absorbing portrayal of both historical and contemporary NZ culture. Focused on the extremely disturbing history of the pacifist Moriori, the author weaves the strands of different times together to enlighten the reader of historical horrors of genocide and slavery that began in 1835 when mainland tribes invaded Rekohu/ Chatham Islands.

By breathing life into the story through characters that connect with Moriori, Maori and Pakeha the author is able to deliver a fair and balanced perspective on a misunderstood and historically misrepresented time and people. In doing so she provides a clearer and more truthful view of an important "hotspot" of NZ history.

Mar 23, 2014

"My Manawa reads, and I hear the sounds like manu-song in the dawn, like putiputi-bright-colour, like kai-reka-on-the-tongue. I see through her eyes, I see my name, I hear the voice in her head. I exsist. I am one of the dead, remembered. Nga Raumahara......:" So says 'the other" voice in this story. This other one is not noticed by any of our characters but as the story progresses its presence is totally understood. A 'dive in and read til you have finished' pakiwaitara. One that crosses cultures, faces loss and heart-ache head on and apportions no blame to historical events that can be disturbing. I enjoyed this book, for its storytelling and for its historical context, that , like any well written fiction story encourages you to find out more about the things you did not know that you did not know. A story about identity and finding your place of belonging.

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