Author – Leonie Agnew
Age – 9+
This story is set in New Zealand in 1978 – the time of the Bastion Point occupation by Maori. But although this was a serious issue in NZ history and the general theme is also serious, this is a funny novel. The kids in this novel are so natural and say the most hilarious things. Conrad is a likeable character dealing with a over-bearing, control freak of a step dad.
At the beginning of the novel, Conrad decides Tane (the maori god of the forest) would be a good god to ask to help him out with his family problems. After all, not many people know about Tane, so he won’t be so busy. But even after several people tell him Tane isn’t real, Conrad continues to ask questions. Why can’t he talk to Tane if he is a Pakeha? Why does the colour of his skin matter?
When he goes to ask Mr Kelly (a maori teacher from his school) about it, he gets even more confused. And the fact that Mr Kelly is one of the protesters/occupiers of Bastion Point, makes things even more complicated. Especially when his step-dad Baz is a policeman and against the occupation in the first place.
Even better than Leonie’s Super Finn! Winner of the LIANZA – Esther Glen Medal 2015
(Action, Bullying, Conflict, Abuse, Courage, Conflict, NZ Author, Award, New Zealand, Bastion Point, Blended Family, Historical, Maori Legend, Maori God, Tane, Friendship, Humour)