Writer to share first novel at library reading

BLAKE CRAYTON-BROWN
Last updated 12:00 04/09/2014

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Acclaimed author Tina Makereti is looking forward to sharing her debut novel with an audience at the Palmerston North City Library tomorrow.

Where the Rekohu Bone Sings follows on from Makereti's award-winning collection of short stories, Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa. The novel delves into the history of the Chatham Islands and the complexities of being Moriori, Maori and Pakeha.

Makereti, who spent about three years working on her manuscript, said the story of the Chathams was a story worth telling.

"There have been a lot of misconceptions and false stories about Moriori and Maori and what happened there," said Makereti, who lived and studied in Palmerston North between 1991 and 2008.

"I wanted people to rethink that [history] in a more complicated way. I wanted to show it was very complicated from all sides."

Telling such stories through a novel was a great way to get more people interested in the stories, she said. "I think fiction is probably more accessible than some history. Nerds like me will read the history but others won't."

Makereti said she visited the Chathams twice while working on the novel in order to better understand the islands' landscape and history.

"I went to Kopinga Marae. It was an extraordinary place. I couldn't have written the book without going there and seeing the land - the land told me its own story."

Makereti said tomorrow's talk was part of the Writers Read series held by the City Library and Massey University.

"It's a wonderful event because it's free. I've been at the Christchurch Word Festival where you have to pay to see writers talk so to come along to the library for free is a good opportunity for people."

Alongside her writing Makereti spends her time lecturing about "life writing" at Massey University and Maori and Pasifika creative writing at Victoria University.

Makereti hopes that in time there will be more diversity in New Zealand literature. "‘I think New Zealand writing is world-class. We've got plenty of great stories to tell." Makereti's reading starts at 6.30pm.

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- Manawatu Standard

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