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The Bone People

Keri Hulme
CATEGORIES: Classic/Culturally Significant | Sense of Culture

The novel that made Hulme the first New Zealander to win the Man Booker Prize was originally rejected by several publishers. Although it is ultimately a story about love, the book is by no means a romance, but rather “an ambitious exploration of the zone where Maori and European New Zealand meet, clash, and sometimes merge.” Now considered a New Zealand literary classic, The Bone People initially received criticism for its portrayals of violence.

Book cover for Once Were Warriors

Once Were Warriors

Alan Duff
CATEGORIES: Sense of Culture

This is one of those books that has stayed with me years after I first read it and is one of the few that has caused me to consider breaking my rule of not re-reading a book because my to-read list is so long. Although the film changes some key plot points, I cried equally as hard during the pivotal scene. You won’t easily forget this one.

Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

The Whale Rider

Witi Ihimaera
CATEGORIES: Classic/Culturally Significant

Among all the works of the prolific author, Whale Rider remains his most popular and beloved. Eight-year-old Kahu fights to prove she deserves the title of chief or her Maori tribe. (Book recommended by Tim Groser, New Zealand ambassador to the U.S., in CN Traveler.)

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