Title: Where the Rekohu Bone Sings
Authors: Makereti, Tina
Genre: Fiction: New Zealand
Pages: 270
Year: 2014
Publisher: Vintage Books
Language: English
Description: From the 19th century invasion of Rekohu (Chatham Islands) through to contemporary Aotearoa, this is the story of a truly New Zealand family: Moriori, Maori, and Pakeha. In order to have a life together Mere and Iraia with their irreconcilable difference in status, must leave their home and start afresh in Wellington. Twins Lula and Bigs, born a century later with their Maori and Pakeha heritage will have their own demons to grapple with, and binding them all together, an ancestral voice.

Bringing to light the history of Rekohu and the challenge of cultural identity, this is a unique and satisfying read. [Larger font]

Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Historical, Love story, Maori, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups, 2017 Titles, Blind Foundation book, Larger font


[Please log in to write a review]
By: AUCK 422 2021-07-02 19:22:18
Some of us enjoyed the book. The issues raised have stayed with us, and they stimulated a wide-ranging and robust discussion. A timely exploration of identity.

By: CHCH 131 2021-04-20 10:50:46
Our group all thought this was a fabulous book! Most of us started reading it late and with some reluctance but once started many members exclaimed that they could hardly put it down. The history angle of the book was very interesting and covered a part of New Zealand history which most of us were relatively unfamiliar with. The characters were strongly drawn and the two main pairs of characters garnered our sympathies very quickly. Very strongly recommended.

By: WELL 156 2021-02-08 11:29:24
The book was generally well received by the members. It was our view that this is one of the best Kiwi authored books we have read during last few years. It is surprising that this book is not very well known or popular in New Zealand.

By: PALMN 029 2020-11-17 20:43:27
An amazing weaving together of 2 stories exploring the history of New Zealand and the Chatham Islands (Rekohu). The book brings in spirituality and reckoning with harder parts of our history. The book was very well received by the whole group.

By: WHITBY 005 2020-08-17 22:21:17
Well received by the whole group. We learnt a lot about New Zealand history through reading this well crafted novel. Recommended to other groups and for use in schools.

By: THAM 005 2020-07-15 15:31:25
We all enjoyed this book; learning about the Chathams and the Moriori in particular. The different reactions of the twins were interesting, as were the cultural aspects of the treatment of Mere and Iraia: we questioned whether things have changed so very much. The use of the spirit voice tied the past and present together and was a clever mechanism. A local filmmaker has recently produced a documentary about a local woman who wanted to make a korowai for her daughter before she died, and they traveled to the Chathams for the weka feathers, so it was especially resonant to us.

By: HAMIL 029 2020-03-03 13:34:47
Most of the group loved this book. They responded to the poetry and spirituality of Imi's narrative and the tragedy of Iraia's life. The novel also gives an insight into an often overlooked part of NZ, the Chatham Islands. Makereti deals with ideas of cultural identity through two thoroughly modern characters, the twins, Bigsy and Lula. All in all, this is a novel that has a lot to say about NZ and our relationship to our troubled history.

By: NELS 058 2019-08-22 19:33:10
For the first time in a long time, our group was unanimous in their enjoyment of this wonderful book.We all gained an understanding of the Moriori, their treatment by Maori and Pakeha.Told in an interesting fictional style, by a new writer, was quite outstanding.

By: CHCH 449 2019-07-05 11:27:14
Interesting story which led to much discussion. We generally agreed that we learned something of our cultural past but the way it was written became a little confusing at times - the narrative jumped times and situations a little too often. For a first novel, though, full marks.

By: CHCH 465 2019-05-27 22:01:34
Very enjoyable and thought provoking book. We learnt some history of New Zealand and the Chatham Islands that we would not have been exposed to otherwise. Highly recommended.

By: WELL 079 2019-03-06 15:40:59
This book reveals some of New Zealand history that people do not know about. It is beautifully crafted and weaves Maori and Moriori cultures into our reality. One of the best New Zealand books we have read.

By: CHCH 194 2019-02-13 18:07:02
This was regarded very positively by everyone. We learnt so much and had an excellent discussion about the Chathams, especially with one member having been there recently. An author to watch from here on.

By: LEVIN 001 2018-09-21 12:58:43
This was an interesting book for everyone and a favourite 10/10 for several. Half the group had been to the Chathams and found the descriptions very evocative. Several found it very sad, and we thought the way the bones became more and more coherent and the dendroglyphs more like people, very clever. We have huge admiration for this as a first novel.

By: NELS 002 2018-09-21 12:53:34
Wonderful book - deserves to win a truck-full of prizes.

By: OWAKA 001 2018-09-21 12:51:34
We all loved this book. I was a bit anxious before the meeting as I had really enjoyed it and appreciated its historical aspects and story, but didn't know what the others would think. But they were unanimous in their praise. We liked its style and language, and found the use of Imi, the spirit-ancestor of Iraia, effective. The cultural aspects and the way different people feel about the makeup of their own families formed part of our discussion. A great book, we thought, and one we would definitely encourage other groups to read.

By: AUCK 224 2018-09-03 13:24:17
We had a good discussion inspired by the book, about the history of the Chatham Islands and the Moriori. We liked the integration of the spirit voice with both the contemporary storyline and the 1880's one.

By: NGON 001 2018-09-03 13:22:33
We all thoroughly enjoyed this amazing book. For some of us, it was the best book we have read. We all felt it was an extremely well-written and informative book.

By: DOUBT 002 2018-09-03 13:16:34
A most intriguing and informative story of these dark events in our history. The different time periods and cultures were woven together so skilfully. The illuminating notes increased our appreciation of this novel, and the questions invited much discussion. Possibly our favourite read for the year.

By: DOUBT 002 2018-05-16 09:48:11
A most intriguing and informative story of these dark events in our history. The different time periods and cultures were woven together so skilfully. The illuminating notes increased our appreciation of this novel, and the questions invited much discussion. Possibly our favourite read for the year.

By: COROM 003 2018-05-16 09:45:43
A wonderful NZ historical fictional novel. An outstanding first published book for a new writer. It was complex keeping track of all the generations. A family tree would have been a great guideline in the book. It received a 10/10, 9/10 and mostly 8/10 scores. Many of us cried at different points while reading. With full credit to Tina Makereti, it has inspired a number of us to take a trip to the Chatham Islands.

By: INVER 002 2018-05-16 09:39:49
We all really enjoyed this book. The author has a very authentic voice and the book just improved as we got into it. The spirit voice was useful at setting the historical place. This was a fascinating story, and a book that should be used in schools. An interesting new author to watch out for. So glad to have read it.

By: WELL 007 2018-05-16 09:23:49
A fascinating book: enjoyed by all who read it. Some found it difficult to begin with because of the three periods it was written in. Later it was difficult to put down. We found the careful research by Tina Makereti very informative. Three of our group read Michael King's 'Moriori' for a better understanding of the Moriori people. We had one of our best discussions as a group. The notes and questions were valuable.

By: DUNED 058 2018-05-16 09:18:37
We found this a most interesting book from the historical perspective, although it was a challenge to sort out the chronology.

By: TEKUI 002 2018-05-16 09:13:42
We all LOVED this book - the characters were so real - it made us think about families and the past, and how everyone felt about it in a different way. It made some of us cry, and for those of us who had been to the Chathams(4), it all made more sense of that place.

By: OMAR 001 2018-05-16 09:11:05
Amazing book. Well reviewed by all members and initiated great discussion. Recommended to all.

The Book Discussion 
Scheme is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations in Aotearoa New Zealand
BDS is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations