Home > Intermediate Fiction, Senior Fiction > The Bone Tiki by David Hair

The Bone Tiki by David Hair

The Bone Tiki by David Hair. Pub. HarperCollins, 2009.

This is a book based in two worlds, the real world and the world of Maori myth and legend.

In the real world Wiremu Matiu Douglas (Mat),  a 15 year old boy with a Maori father and a Celtic mother, lives his life in Napier New Zealand. His parents are separated and he  is going with his father to a Tangi for his great grand mother Wai-aroha, a woman who had disappeared for a long time and whose death awakens a great adventure.

Wai-aroha wore a bone tiki around her neck and had promised it to Wiremi(Mat) when she died. On the day of the tangi Mat overhears a telephone conversation between his father, who is a lawyer, and a deep voiced client, Puarata, who lays claim to the bone tiki.

Puarata is a Godfather like character who has lost mana with his tribe and family and is not wanted at the tangi. He claims to have carved the bone tiki, allegedly from human bone, and wants it back.

Mat instinctively dislikes Puarata, and at the tangi takes the bone tiki off Wai-aroha’s neck as she lies in state on the Marae. As soon as he touches the tiki he feels it’s power. He then flees the tangi with Puarata and his henchmen in pursuit with the intention of going to his mother’s place in Taupo.

The chase is fast and thrilling and in the middle there is a transition into the world of myth and legend. He meets a young girl, Pania, who helps him in the early part of his escape . She understands the power of the Bone tiki and encourages Mat to stay off the roads and make his way inland through the rivers and bush. She also tells him if he gets in big trouble to hold the tiki and say Toa.

Mat is to find out that wherever the tiki goes it awakens the land of myth and legend, and that he is fleeing from a past that is savage and thrilling at the same time.

A fantastic first novel from David Hair, the type of story that is lacking in New Zealand children’s writing and themes that haven’t been developed since Joanna Orwin’s Owl and Joy Cowley’s The Hunter.

Aimed at Intermediate and high school students, do yourself a favour and read this exciting novel. I believe David Hair has another novel out Taniwha’s Tear and I cannot wait to read it.

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