Author(s): Tina Makereti
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.
"Having won prizes for her short stories, with debut novel Where the Rekohu Bone Sings, Tina Makereti makes a bold foray into an area of New Zealand history that has been largely unrepresented and often misunderstood. Treading carefully, she examines the complexity of modern cultural identities that not only are products of loving cross-cultural relationships but also bear the bloody weight of historical acts of violence and injustice. It’s a lot of work for a novel to do, but Where the Rekohu Bone Sings manages the load admirably. . . . Where the Rekohu Bone Sings is a thoughtful tracing of the complexity of being Moriori, Maori and Pakeha and of finding a place of belonging between cultures. That it does all this while also telling a compelling story is impressive indeed. ”
Louise O'Brien, NZ Listener
Tina Makereti is a fiction writer of Ngati Tuwharetoa, Te Ati Awa, Ngati Maniapoto, Irish, Welsh, English, and possibly Moriori and Nordic, descent. She is a senior tutor in Life Writing at Massey University Wellington. Tina Makereti's writing has appeared in a range of literary journals, magazines and anthologies including the NZ Listener, Huia Short Stories 8, Hue and Cry 4, JAAM 27 and Turbine 08.
After completing an MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters in 2008, she won the 2009 Huia Publishers Best Story Award for Best Short Story Written in English, and the 2009 Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing u Non-fiction. Her first collection of stories, Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa, was released in 2010: David Geary wrote, 'Bold and sexy, this collection is a crafty combo of mystery and history that makes the old new'.
Tina Makereti is currently completing a PhD in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington, for which this novel is part of her submission.
* Winner of the Nga Kupu Ora Fiction Award 2011 for Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa * Winner of the non-fiction prize of the Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing 2009 * Pikihuia Award for Best Short Story in English 2009 * Listed in The NZ Listener's 100 Best Books, and Sunday Star Times Best Books of 2010