READ FOR NZ BOOK AWARDS
An honest, emotive work detailing not only Ihimaera’s childhood but also early life in rural New Zealand and Maori history.
➤ “Maori Boy gives not just a stunning insight into the early years of Witi Ihimaera’s life, but also historically captures the whanau dynamics and social norms of a particular time in Aotearoa’s history.
It is filled with lovely, warm anecdotes interspersed with factual information, eg the high prevalence of Maori playing lawn tennis in the late 1800s/early 1900s and the author’s own experience in the father-son Maori Poverty Bay championships. It’s definitely not all warm-fuzzies and there were sections of the memoir I chose to skim rather than completely immerse myself in.
“I understand there are two more books to come that will continue on from this childhood memoir and I will happily add each of them to my bookshelf.” – Suzy
➤ “What I loved about Maori Boy was how Ihimaera’s own stories were interspersed with Maori history and how his stories were told in the same manner that myths and legends have been told by Maori throughout the years. This provides the memoir with a special feature that escapes most books – fiction and non-fiction.
“Learning about the life of Maori through the generations as they adapted to English norms was interesting and I can say I learnt a lot more about these topics from this memoir than many books I’ve read. There were also deeply personal and shocking moments in the book, which I know I’ll never forget. That Ihimaera can combine this densely detailed history with the moving story of a humble Maori boy and his whanau is outstanding.” – Rachel