TE RAKAU WHAKAPAPA – The Generation Stick – a story of courage


Te Rakau Whakapapa – The Generation Stick – a story of courage

Author Wikitoria Dansey

 
Te Rakau Whakapapa is a multi generational story of historical fiction, set in what is now known as the Bay of Plenty NZ, home of the Arawa and Mataatua peoples, depicts events typical of tikanga Māori, especially of te Arawa related and visiting tribes.
Each generation experiences the cycles of life (birth, marriage, death), crops and food gathering, illness and traditional remedies, intertribal war or trade, and interaction by later generations with European explorers, missionaries or settlers.
Ms Dansey has worked meticulously to balance fiction with accuracy when writing of people, customs, sonngs, rites of passage – while interspersing te Rēo Māori within the text. She has woven a story of a family line’s world of home, war, trade, trickery and love.
It is a literary piece, not light reading, but is comfortable to read, and fascinating to follow the family’s generations. I imagine readers of te Rēo, younger generation of tangata whenua, students of Māori literature and legend and those of Te Arawa and Mataatua finding this as a tāonga.

Published September 2013, Printer Dudfield Bryce, Rotorua New Zealand
ISBN 978-0-473-25602-9 (paperback)

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DREAMTIME – pt 1 of Guardians of the Shimmer by Garth LAWLESS


From the moment I realized the fantasy is set in New Zealand, is well written, and its antagonists are a family of parents and teenagers, I knew the author is on a winner.
His descriptive passages are vivid; we See the green bush, the space between the shimmer curtain, the safe haven, the dream worlds … in efficient writing which drew me on, reading until ungodly hours of the morning. 
His characterization is realistic. 13 year old Cole and sister 17 year old Lily are astonished to discover their parents are part of a fantastic “other world” in parallel to ours. In Gap-Space – between the Shimmer and Dream-Time – they quickly become enmeshed in the world of the Guardians, acquiring skills and powers to help the Guardians keep back the VELI, who are able to absorb innocents, change them to Veli, use them. 
Cole and Lucy become part of the Guardians’ quest to discover and return keys to the Shelter, and find they can move to other Shelters around the world. The chase and fight scenes are full of action, described in a way that will appeal to the young adult or adolescent reader. Finishing with an unresolved dilemma, Lawless leaves us demanding “where’s the next in the series?”
Intended for the ten to thirteen year old boy, it is proving popular with older age groups and with girls and women as well. Heck, I’m sixty-two and I want to read the sequel!
Dreamtime“, part one of the series Guardians of the Shimmer
Author: Garth Lawless
Illustrator: Joyce van der Lely
Publisher: OceanBooks,
PO Box 4075, Mount Maunganui South, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand 3149
ISBN: 978-1-937215-38-8 (paperback)
          978-1-937215-39-5 ( ePub)
          978-1-937215-40-1 (Mobi)
Available from …
·        Oceanbooks: http://www.oceanbooks.co.nz/shimmer.html

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Norma DELGARNO – BECOMING KARL

BECOMING KARL –
A brain-injured baby’s
journey to recovery

AUTHOR: Norma DELGARNO
www.normadelgarno.com

ISBN: 978-0473-19565-6 (paper-bacK)

Publisher: Wildcat Publications, Rotorua NZ

Cover Illustration and Epilogue: Karl ROTHKO

Availabilty:
McCloud’s Book Shop, Rotorua NZ ($NZ30)
www.amazon.com, ($c. NZ48)
also via www.normadelgarno.com

Within the pages of Norma’s book, I found inspiration, shared her frustrations and dreads, admired her stubborn determination to raise Karl. I delighted in Karl’s accomplishments, miracles and successes. I discovered much about health conditions of which I’d never before heard, and even more than I would have expected about myself.

Karl’s birth was five weeks premature, and a breech presentation. His life was spent fighting against physiological and neurological damages that had arisen in utero from a rare and little known condition (Toxoplasma gondii, a form of parasite that invades important systems – including the central nervous system – within the developing foetus) commonly referred to as Toxoplasmosis. The condition – which never presented any symptoms to Karl’s mother while pregnant –  caused numerous ailments: “anaemia, anoxia, hypoglycaemia,  thrombocytopenia; enlarged heart, spleen and liver, dangerously low platelet counts, twitching and trembling [spasms]”. The condition of his blood caused purplish skin lesions “thrombocytopenia”, which gradually faded or healed with transfusions and blood treatment. There was a likelihood of Karl having or developing leukaemia. Eye lesions which caused loss of sight were discovered, and Karl had developed hydrocephalus (“water-on-the-brain”). Karl’s parents were warned that toxoplasmosis can invade the very substance of the brain itself, consuming healthy brain cells, leaving scarring, holes and gaps.

Karl and his mother had to fight ignorance, apathy, prejudice – from medical personnel, teachers, frightened and embarrassed family and friends. Yet Norma also found support from kindly nursing and neurological staff and specialists, teachers, and “true” friends” who not only helped Norma look after Karl, but to look after herself.

A reviewer probably should not include a “spoiler’ – but look at by whom the book’s cover is illustrated and the Epilogue is written. Karl is a successful artist, holds a working job, and has a wisdom of life many “abled” among us fail to achieve.

This is a “must read” for anyone  – a general readership, not only those with interest in children with special needs. (Although, as a retired teacher who met many children with special needs, I found myself wishing now I’d been armed with Norma’s experiences, skills and devotion.) Norma has also provided an Appendix defining clearly three significant challenges Karl had to face.
Norma’s writing style throughout is anecdotal, conversational and flows easily. I read this solely for two days, turning aside from other media as it so readily drew me into their lives. A most pleasurable read, with such a satisfying outcome.

. . . o o o O O O o o o . . .
  

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A BETTER PLACE – A novel of early New Zealand

A BETTER PLACE – A novel of early New Zealand

Author: Enid MEYER;              
Cover Illustration: watercolour by Enid MEYER
Publisher: Fraser Books, Masterton NZ.    
ISBN – 9 780986 459375

A Better Place tells the stories of early European settlers in and around the township of Greytown in the Wairarapa district in the late 1860s. Through the experiences of Kate, newly arrived from England, we learn about the people and the hard physical labour required to turn native forest and bush into productive farming land. As Greytown – the first Small Farms Settlement inland township – grows, and other small townships develop further north in the valley, Kate her two children and her husband introduce us to many characters, both the gentile and the rough diamonds.

(I’ve not completed it yet – it’s totally absorbing, and I felt the review needn’t wait.
Mrs Meyer used to run a berry orchard in Greytown, and in childhood my cousins and siblings spent many late summer weekend afternoons picking berries (sneaking the odd one or two straight into greedy mouths. I am told this is her first book, but that she has enough material to produce two further books.)

Excerpt:

 Suddenly, Jake struggled to sit up, gasping, “Where’s Patrick? Did you see him in the canoe?”

“No boy, we didn’t see anyone else. For God’s sake, how many of you were playing around like idiots in the flood?” asked an older man.

“Just me and Patrick. We got into the canoe and were just sitting in it by the side of the bank, when this big rush of water came down the river and the canoe took off. We didn’t have any paddles but were fine until the canoe tipped over. I grabbed the log. I don’t know what happened to Patrick.”

“What have you got to say to Mr O’Brien, Jake?” asked John.

“Thank you for saving me sir, but can we please look for Patrick?” He looked up at the men with tears in his eyes. He realised what had nearly happened to him. Patrick might not have been so lucky.

When two horsemen arrived at a gallop, John looked to see Ru and Rangi with, hanging over the front of Rangi’s saddle, the limp body of Patrick.

“We found him caught in the branches of a tree about half a mile away,” Rangi said. “We’ve tried to revive him but had no luck.” He looked at Jake as he spoke. “I’m sorry young fella. This is what happens when you take chances with nature. This river is so strong and so fast; he’d have had no chance. What should we do now boss? Take him home to his family?”

Edit, 17 Jan
I completed reading the book, and Enid Meyer’s style of writing is one which drew me into the community completely; I felt I was sharing the families’ daily events and major problems.

I have learned that (here in New Zealand) Whitcoulls are having another run published, and it will be readily available.

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