Author: David Hill
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Date of Publication: May 2018
Job title: Librarian
School: Motueka High School
In the fictional work Finding, David Hill provides drama and realism for the reader through bicultural relationships representing such issues as immigration, colonialism, challenges and disability. These issues are contrasted with positive friendships and rewards.
Set in northern New Zealand Aotearoa, the story spans two families over several generations. In 1886, Scottish migrants arrive and subsequently interact with the locals. Authenticity and biculturalism are reinforced through language, both Scottish and Te Reo. In an educational gesture, Hill’s characters apply phonetics to Te Reo dialogue.
The historical context informs our New Zealand heritage and students will be able to identify with at least one character if not more, all of whom bring the storyto life.
The children channel connections between cultures. For example, Haone and Aggie’s friendship is symbolised by motifs of jewellery - a ‘jade’ necklace and a Scottish bracelet. When they exchange these tokens, a raft of cultural issues arises between mistrustful parents.
Issues are compounded when it transpires that the local swamp holds great cultural significance. The Scottish father acknowledges the significance and contrasts it with his own cultural values “ … we know what holy land is; we have had tae leave our own….”. Respect is accorded to both tikanga and belongings. This ongoing respect establishes the values held by subsequent family generations. Finding invites the reader to consider migration, land ownership, cultural relationships - and much more - very useful for Year 9 and 10. Hurry up and write Finding 2, Mr Hill!