The Parihaka Woman – Witi Ihimaera

parihaka womanREAD FOR BOOKCLUB

A fictionalised account set amongst the atrocities that occurred in Parihaka, Taranaki during the 1870s

The Parihaka Woman tells the story of Taranaki iwi who fought back against settlers and the confiscation of their lands with a programme of passive resistance. This grounding in fact is offset by the creation of protagonist Erenora, a heroine who takes on the Odyssean-type journey of rescuing her husband, Horitana, from capture.

Horitana is held in various prisons, providing a journey around parts of the country, and a pacy saga with a cast of interesting side characters.

After receiving criticism for his previous novel, The Trowenna Sea, for apparent plagiarism, Ihimaera has in this novel used a history teacher as a narrator, who quotes from reliable works to help explain the story of colonialism and atrocity in 1870s Taranaki. Thus the elements of fact and fiction are both clear but also woven together for a good yarn.

© I am always gobsmacked that the Parihaka story does not have more recognition in New Zealand. It is uplifting and devastating all at once. One of my favourite authors tells a stunning story of Parihaka and the good vs evil sentiments are strong. – Suzy

© I enjoyed reading more about one of the more reprehensible episodes in our country’s history and learned a lot. I did feel the story became too far-fetched as it neared its conclusion, however, it didn’t stop me turning pages! Excellent pace, well-crafted characters, historical accurate – definitely worth a read. – Rachel


Published 2011
318 pages

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