Patu: A Novel
This book follows the fortunes of Jahnine and her family who seem to have had more than their fair share of bad luck over the years with family members dying young or disappearing, and as the book begins, Jahnine’s own mother in hospital with cancer.
There is a family story that an ancestor stole a greenstone patu from Maori during the NZ wars and that is the cause of their bad luck. If the patu were returned to its rightful owner, the curse on the family would be lifted.
Jahnine is willing to try anything that might improve her mother’s chances of surviving, so she sets about returning the taonga to its original owners with whoever is willing to help her.
This book conveys the importance of taonga and tradition to Maori, and highlights the injustices that have been done throughout the generations, but it is also a spiritual tale of healing and understanding, both for Pakeha and for Maori and as individuals.
This is a satisfying and thought-provoking read as well as being fast-paced and exciting, (as these events only take place over 2 or 3 days).
I would recommend this book for students 14 years and over.
Title: Patu: A Novel
Age: 14+ years
Reviewer: Anabel McPhee, Librarian, The Catlins Area School, South Otago
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
Opening sentence: Maggie watched a fantail dance through the branches of a Morton Bay fig tree.
You can buy this book here