The story of two Maori families who clash constantly - in sport, in cultural contests, and finally in the Golden Fleece Shearing Contest. A comedy of family dislocation and cultural adaptation. NZ Interest.
This title is also offered as part of the Narrative Muse Book Club.
Comments from Groups
Loved the descriptive style, humour, family feuds and the narrator Himiona. Piopio 001
We loved it! A New Zealand classic. Wellington 031
Such a great author and storyteller! Timaru 016
A delightful read: warm, insightful and funny. Gisborne 006
Witi's writing is always thought-provoking and many found it being mulled over long after finishing. Nelson 020
The group thoroughly enjoyed the book. We had a stimulating discussion around underlying themes of the book ie. Maori mythology, family structures. Culverden 001
It is a book that requires the reader needs to pay careful attention to detail. Scenes of shocking domestic violence, possibly indicative of the era and time. Relatively realistic characterisation. Auckland 134
A fantastic book enjoyed by everyone in the group. The book had a clever, compelling storyline, with lots of humour,twists and turns and an unexpected ending. Would definitely recommend this book to other groups. Tauranga 034
Book a bit slow in parts, but we enjoyed it. Gave good insight into Maori culture at that time on the East Coast. A lively discussion was held. Te Puke 006
Highly enjoyable - very visual and captured a unique point in time and NZ culture in a believable, entertaining and insightful way. Great characters too! Lower Hutt 006
We felt the story was most likely realistic of the era and times. We did not see the finish coming - it was a blinder!! Omarama 001
What a great book! Everyone loved it! Now we are up for a DVD night, to watch "Mahana'. With his humour and descriptive writing skill, you can almost smell the sheep in the woolshed! Just wonderful. Turangi 001
An easy read. The girls from the village didnt enjoy it as much as those living on farms . All round great story.
A great read which many in our group enjoyed. Some non-Kiwi members of the group didn't enjoy it as much.
Generally our group found this an interesting read which gave rise to a lively discussion. We enjoyed discussing Maori culture and the differences in their hierarchy - particularly in the first half of the 20th century compared to today. We enjoyed reading of small town communities of rural New Zealand - particularly from the social aspect. It was an easy read and full of interesting, believable characters.
All loved this, and some have seen the movie based on this story.
Fantastic book! We all thoroughly enjoyed it. Well-written - it draws you into the events. It was like being there on the edge of your seat at the hockey game and the shearing!
Only one of our members had previously read a book by Witi Ihimaera - which was interesting seeing that he is such a well known New Zealand author. I think we were surprised and delighted at how easy it was to read a novel that took us back to a time before technology and migration to the cities, its simple story lines and recognisable themes drawing us in to the workings of the Mahana family. We discussed Bulibasha and his tyrannical hold over his family and also what it was like to grow up in New Zealand during the 1950s - as many of our members had done...
Everyone enjoyed this book for its energy, characterisation, story and setting. An all round winner in other words. One member's favourite NZ novel. I'd read it 20 years ago and was surprised at how engrossing and pertinent it was second time around. One member found the violent undertones belied the description of comedic in the blurb.
This book was a favourite with everyone - a skilful combination of keenly observed culture and lifestyle, history we were all part of, issues we're all familiar with and the type of humour we all know. Ours is a rural community with a large Maori population and many shearing gangs - this book felt like us.
Loved this book - great characters and a wonderfully horrid villain in Bulibasha. A Kiwi classic.
What a great read! Sad, challenging, engaging, enlightening. Highly recommended.