Where the Rekohu Bone Sings

Makereti, Tina

  39 Reviews

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]

This title is also offered as part of the Narrative Muse Book Club.



TAKA 001
We all loved this book, and thought it was beautifully written, Imi's voice especially was very poetic. Using the three 'timeframes' worked well. We learned a lot about the Moriori and early NZ racial bias.
OXF 002
All members loved this book. Learned a lot about the history of Rekohu. Voice of the 'bone' was very unusual. Very poignant story.
WELL 206
Our group were all enlightened by the history, especially of the Moriori people, portrayed in this story. Engaging read.
AUCK 172
We felt there was too much in this book. Neither a novel nor non-fiction. You could feel it was well researched and we learned a lot about Chatham history. Early Wellington also well portrayed.
All enjoyed learning about NZ history, generated good discussion. Enjoyed!
Where the Rekohu Bone Sings was enjoyed by our book club. We loved Tina Makareti's storytelling about culture, history and family. The characters and writing style were impressive, making it a thought-provoking and recommended read.
MAST 007
Loved the book (all except one!). Well-written, very informative, interesting narrative styles.
Everyone LOVED this book!
TAUM 003
An intriguing book - a challenging structure carried off very convincingly. An enlightening read.
AUCK 272
Excellent book. Very informative.
The group loved this book. Half of the group were not born in Aotearoa and had little knowledge of this history. Those born here had some knowledge that was deepened by reading the novel. Discussion of the book covered issues of privilege, culture, acknowledgement of cultural heritage, and identity. A stimulating, confronting and worthwhile morning for all. We were impressed with the notes accompanying the book, which aided our reading and conversation. Some of us struggled at first with the voice of Imi, but ultimately were moved by what was contained in these passages. Several will reread.
NELS 065
A brilliant read, superbly researched. All our group thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot about the culture and history of N.Z.
NELS 040
Our group found this a very interesting book, probably one of the most highly rated of the last few years of books. Some of us watched the documentary available on Maori TV, and listened to the interview of Tina Makareti by Te Ahi Kaa, which gave the story more historical background.
We enjoyed this book on so many levels. Historically it informed us of a part of New Zealand history most of us knew very little about. Culturally it raised our awareness of different beliefs and customs especially when dealing with death. Brilliantly written. Tina Makereti skilfully exposed the conflicts of 3 different cultures via her main characters with the Spirit providing an overview.. Her method of beginning in the present and working back combined with changing the language for the different characters was so clever and subtle we almost missed it. A little slow at the beginning.
AUCK 422
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.
CHCH 131
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.
WELL 156
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.
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.
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.
THAM 005
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.
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.
NELS 058
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.
CHCH 449
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.
CHCH 465
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.
WELL 079
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.
CHCH 194
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.
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.
NELS 002
Wonderful book - deserves to win a truck-full of prizes.
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.
AUCK 224
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.
NGON 001
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
WELL 007
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.
We found this a most interesting book from the historical perspective, although it was a challenge to sort out the chronology.
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.
OMAR 001
Amazing book. Well reviewed by all members and initiated great discussion. Recommended to all.