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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Huia Short Stories 14 by various authors

This collection features 28 of the best short stories from the Pikihuia Awards for Māori writers 2021.

The competition, held every two years, attracts entries from writers of all ages and those who are starting out to seasoned authors.

Judged by Dr Emma Espiner, Carol Hirschfield, Vincent Olsen-Reeder and Maiki Sherman, this collection of finalists’ fiction has something for everyone - and everyone will take something different away from it.

Every story reflects the previous, no easy feat for the editors, but each has its own distinctive and authentic voice.

Above all, these stories are about relationships - with ourselves, with others, with our tupuna and history, with the environment.

Spotlight on the Marae by Airana Ngarewa evokes a strong sense of place and time, and will make anyone who has spent time on the marae smile to themselves in recognition. Te Uaua o te Kimi Hoa by Maia Thompson and The Label Machine is Broken by Ashlee Sturme tugged at my heartstrings and had me in tears. The Trouble with the Bubble by Nadine Anne Hura challenged me.

Some stories cover hard topics, but are important to tell. Traumatic experiences that encompass all kinds of experiences and characters, opinions and perspectives are included in this collection. Te Atakura by Sean Ogden and The Skinhead by Te Ariki Wi Neera are just two of the stories that will stay with readers for a long time.

This is a bilingual book, with stories published in either Māori or English. As an intermediate learner of te reo Māori, these stories were just enough to challenge my skills. For beginners, give them a go. You might surprise yourself with what you do know (not to mention immersion is the best way to learn).

Huia Publishers executive director Eboni Waitere uses the whakatauki, Mā te huruhuru te manu ka rere, which is commonly translated as adorn the bird with feathers so it may fly. Huia Short Stories celebrates Māori writing, introduces new talent and gives an opportunity for Māori writers to soar.

Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell

Huia Publishers, RRP $25


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