April 10, 2014
Taupo landscape key part of books
Award winning writer Whiti Hereaka says it’s important young Maori readers can see themselves in books.
Her novel Bugs, set in her home town of Taupo, is a finalist in Young Adult Fiction section of the New Zealand Childrens Book Awards.
It follows year 12 student Bugs and her friends as they consider what they will do with their lives.
Hereaka, from Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa, says a Maori dimension is inevitable in what she writes.
"The landscape itself is a character and I think that’s a particularly Maori point of view, that the wairua of the land is part of the place. I use Taupo’s geothermal activity as a metaphor for the teenagers’ potential. And I’m interested in telling my story in particular, when I was growing up it was great to have books by Maori authors so I could see myself in those stories," she says.
Whiti Hereaka has already won prizes for her playwrighting and her first novel The Graphologist’s Apprentice, was shortlisted for a Commonwealth Writers Prize.
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