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My New Zealand Story: Bastion Point, 507 Days on Takaparawha by Tania Roxborogh.

February 18, 2017 Comments off

bastion-pointMy New Zealand Story: Bastion Point, 507 Days on Takaparawha by Tania Roxborogh. Pub. Scholastic, 2017.

Imagine you are a young girl who has just been given a horse that she adores then  her dad and mum decide to go and live in a tent on a piece of land jutting out into Waitemata Harbour Auckland called Takaparawha or Bastion Point.

Erica Tito finds this is happening to her and she keeps a diary of what happened in the next 507 days during the Ngati Whatua occupation of Bastion Point that divided New Zealand under the Muldoon Government.

It is a stunning account of a confrontation between Government and Maori that set the pattern for the next 40 years and asked the crucial question of “Are we as New Zealanders a racist society”? and “have the Maori got a fair deal in their land deals with the Government?”.

Tania Roxborogh examines these questions through the eyes of Erica and her experiences  and her relationships with those on Bastion Point and the children at the school at which she attends during the occupation.

The burning question for Erica is – those that want to develop the land say the land is theirs but do they have a receipt to say that is so, and why do her tribe the Ngati Whatua say it is theirs? One thing is for sure ” no-one laughs at Maoritanga”

Conditions on Bastion point were primitive. No running water, no electricity, a long drop for a toilet and tent accommodation that was exposed to the elements. A child could be excused for hating this situation and wanting to be back home with the horse that she loved. But when mom and dad say we stay what can you do? Over the next 507 days Erica’s opinions and resolve change.

As time passes to over a year and nothing is resolved the eviction of the occupiers at the end,is a traumatic and moving occasion. Read this excellent account and find out why.

Another gem from the My New Zealand Story series many of which are reviewed on this blog.

For primary, Intermediate and junior secondary readers.

Conrad Cooper’s Last Stand by Leonie Agnew.

January 20, 2015 Comments off

conrad cooperConrad Cooper’s Last Stand by Leonie Agnew. Pub. Puffin Books, 2014.

Ten year old Conrad Cooper is a boy who thinks seriously about life and takes things literally. He lives with his mother who is a little skittish and doesn’t have a lot of confidence in herself and  Gaz a policeman and control freak who oozes paranoia every time he is in the story. He is Conrad’s stepfather and while he doesn’t beat him he holds Conrad’s mother to task every time Conrad brings up something awkward and Conrad does this a lot.

Conrad wants to talk to someone and after studying the myth of Rangi and Papa and learning about Tane god of the forest he decides Tane is going to be the god he speaks to because other gods may be too busy.

Jasper is Conrad’s friend in a manner of speaking and he tells Conrad he can’t have Tane as a god because he is not Maori. This opens up a whole can of worms most of it hugely tongue in cheek and funny. Conrad thinks if he becomes a Maori then things will be fine but how does he do this?

It is 1978 and this book is very much a time piece for the age. The big thing happening in NZ is the Bastion Point occupation. Conrad gets involved and Gaz his stepfather does not like it.

A good read -a -loud for years 5/6 and 7/8. Told with humour and understanding by Leonie Agnew. It is great to have a child’s view of the Bastion Point occupation, I am sure we can laugh at it, this is not Paris.