Jahnine is 16 years old and in her own words “as white as they come”. Her mother Maggie is in hospital dieing of cancer and being looked after by her wayward sister Trina.
The family have plenty of history but the thing that really matters is the Patu that they have had in the family since their great grandfather acquired it during the Land wars. The family feel that they are cursed and Maggie wants to return it to the rightful owners. Maggie feels her own cancer is related to possession of the Patu and Jahnine vows to return it.
In the quest to return the Patu< Jahnine meets a disturbed Maori boy called Andy who at first takes the Patu, then leads her to meet his family and this is where the action starts.
With his brother Jimmy, a handsome Maori boy who the girls love, with five illigitimate children and no direction in life. Jimmy’s girlfriend Piki who has two children of her own and is still only 18 years old, Sid a follower and wastrel who is always under the influence of something. Jahnine and Andy join this crew in a journey south in a crapped out car to seek information on how to find the real owners of the Patu.
The road trip is a life changing experience. But are they taking the Patu home or is it leading them.
Powerful story with strong themes about the alienation of maori city youth from their culture. Mainly for high school students and well worth a read.
Reviewed by Bob Docherty. Review taken with kind permission from http://bobsbooksnz.wordpress.com.
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