Friday, November 18, 2016

The Parihaka Woman - absolute must read

Kia ora e hoa,

It's been so long since I've chatted books but I'm really challenging myself to do more reading and less TV watching (unless I have a project in my hands) of late. Recently The Atlas and I got away for 4 days due to the very generous hearts of my mama and step-dad. They kid managed and lent us the campervan for 4 days of travelling around the bottom of Te Wai Pounamu (the South Island of NZ).

Just before we left I was at the library and I spotted this book on the Parihaka display. The children at school have been studying Parihaka and I was very aware of how limited my own knowledge was of the events.

The Parihaka Woman by Witi Ihimaera

reading at the south end of Lake Wakatipu
The events of Parihaka are a deep and awful gash in the history of New Zealand. It involves the unlawful taking of land, from tribes who didn't even sign the treaty of Waitangi, the astonishing and inspiring commitment of Tohu and Te Whiti and their people to non-violent resistance and the dreadful use of power, weapons, imprisoning without trial... all the bad things. Parihaka is also a story of a beautiful people, resourceful, community minded, fair and inspiring.

Witi Ihimaera is a wonderful New Zealand author, probably most well known as the author of The Whale Rider. The book is also turned into an exceptional film.

Whatever your knowledge of New Zealand history or the events of Parihaka I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is billed as a novel but it also works as a recount of history. Ihimaera's ancestor Erenora is the protagonist and the book flicks between the present and the voice of the author, and the past and the love story of Erenora and Horitana. A young couple caught up in the world of Parihaka.

It's inspiring, heart breaking, awful and beautiful to read.

We must read more of our history, we must know more of our story. Every time we engage openly with the story of New Zealand, its injustice and heartbreak as well as its success and triumphs we grow.

I think this book might end up under the Christmas tree for some people in my world this year. It's also reminded me I need to read more New Zealand authors and always hold history carefully - one person's victor is another person's villain. We all have much to learn.

What have you read this year that has stretched you?

details - Penguin, Oct 2011 RRP $38.99, also available as an ebook (or grab it at your local library)

love you more than a book that enrages and delights xxx