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Reviewed by Catherine Duynhoven, Head of English, Otahuhu College, Auckland
Opening sentence
Well, stories are a time-travel device in their own way. Like reaching into a version of the past or future, or a parallel moment of the present…(From Anthony Lapwood's story The Ether of 1939)
'Hiwa: Contemporary Māori Short Stories' edited by Paula Morris features short works by 27 contemporary Māori authors from around the globe.

There is no thematic link between these stories as each writer has their own unique style and content preferences – ranging from science fiction, to historical fiction, to ghost stories. However, many stories in this collection focus on identity, family relationships and history.

Morris’ introduction considers the difficulties of defining Māori writing and the artistry involved in crafting short fiction. This introduction also sets this collection of texts apart from other contemporary short story collections.

Each story is prefaced by a short biography of the writer, focusing on their whakapapa, academic history, past publications, and a brief synopsis of the short text included in the collection. Of the 27 texts, four of the stories have been entirely composed in te reo Māori, and most of the stories engage in code-switching between English and te reo Māori. This perhaps create some limitations in readability - a glossary, or footnotes, would perhaps be useful for readers who are less familiar with the language.

Overall an intriguing read.

Advisory warning: This is an adult book that has been reviewed with High School students in mind, so please note the is language, sexual content and violence that may not be appropriate for younger teens.
Author & Illustrator: Multiple
Publisher: Auckland University Press
ISBN: 9781869409951
Format: Paperback
Publication: Aug 2023
Ages: Late teens to adult
Themes: Family, identity, belonging, environment, colonisation