Pasifika Spotlight: Whiti Hereaka

Author:

Whiti Hereaka.

Māori. Tūwharetoa and Te Arawa.

About:

Whiti Hereaka was born January 26, 1978, in Taupo, New Zealand. As a kid, she told up stories and made up plays (source). Despite this, Whiti never intended to write fiction and instead only saw herself as a playwright, but after being contacted by Huia Publishers about writing a novel, she took up the challenge (source). Since then Whiti has published two novels: The Graphologist’s Apprentice and Bugs.

As both a playwright and a published author Whiti has won a number of awards and been shortlisted for many others (source).

In addition to her writing pursuits, Whiti is also a barrister and solicitor (source). In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, sewing, and gardening (source).

If you want to know more about Whiti check out her page on the New Zealand Book Councils website and her page on Hooked On NZ Books.

Novels:

Bugs by Whiti Hereaka

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It’s always been Jez and me. Me and Jez, that’s how it has always been. So what did you expect? Did you think that maybe you’d find out what happened to us in the future, me and Jez, Jez and me? Have you been following along, ticking things off check, check, check, to find out who got their happy ending?

Bugs is about the unfolding lives of three young people in their last year of school in small-town New Zealand. Life is slow, and it seems not much happens in town or in Jez and Bugs’s lives. But when Stone Cold arrives, the three come to different conclusions about how to deal with being trapped in a small town and at the bottom of the heap.

Reviews on Bugs by White Hereaka:

“Essentially this novel could be described as a coming-of-age story. It’s an intensely Kiwi book. Hereaka pulls no punches and spares no grim details as she develops the storyline. It’s all there − the solo parent with aspirations for a better future for her child, the staggeringly dysfunctional wealthy family, the intense friendships, the drugs, the violence, the love, the passion, the neglect, the humour and the difficulties of getting through teenage years.” – Sue Esterman (The Reader)

“I think Bugs may well be one of the most believable, angry, perverse, defensive and clever adolescent characters I have read, in quite some time. She’d be bloody hard to have around, but you’d have to admire how staunch she is, not that she’d care. And don’t bother trying to pull the wool over her eyes. She’s already decided what she thinks of you, and most likely you’re not going to get a Christmas card any time soon.” – stgeorgereaders

The Graphologist’s Apprentice by Whiti Hereaka

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When JanuaryOCOs obsession with a married man begins to jeoperdise her emotional stability, she decides to risk it all and respond to a mysterious card with the words Tell me a secret? Not content with her home life or work place, January takes comfort in reading romance novels but is suddenly brought back to reality when she meets the secret keeper, Mae, a graphologist. The Graphologists Apprentice is a story about friendship and love and how both can be found in unexpected places.

Further Reading:

Interview: Whiti Hereaka answers the questions that have been bugging us about Bugs

Finalist interviews: The origin of Bugs, by Whiti Hereaka

First Novel Experiences: Whiti Hereaka (PDF)

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