Once Were Warriors Epub Ì Once Were PDF \

Once Were Warriors Epub Ì Once Were PDF \


Once Were Warriors ❮Ebook❯ ➡ Once Were Warriors Author Alan Duff – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Once Were Warriors is Alan Duff s harrowing vision of his country s indigenous people two hundred years after the English conquest In prose that is both raw and compelling, it tells the story of Beth Once Were Warriors is Alan Duff s harrowing vision of his country s indigenous people two hundred years after the English conquest In prose that is both raw and compelling, it tells the story of Beth Heke, Once Were PDF \ a Maori woman struggling to keep her family from falling apart, despite the squalor and violence of the housing projects in which they live Conveying both the rich textures of Maori tradition and the wounds left by its absence, Once Were Warriors is a masterpiece of unblinking realism, irresistible energy, and great sorrow.

  • Paperback
  • 208 pages
  • Once Were Warriors
  • Alan Duff
  • English
  • 04 September 2019
  • 0679761810

About the Author: Alan Duff

Alan Duff born October , , Rotorua, New Zealand is a New Zealand novelist and newspaper columnist, most well known as the author of Once Were Warriors He began to write full time in He tried writing Once Were PDF \ a thriller as his first novel, but it was rejected He burned the manuscript and started writing Once Were Warriors, which had an immediate and great impact The novel is written in juxtaposed interior monologues, making its style stand out from other works It was winner of the PEN Best First Book Award, was runner up in the Goodman Fielder Wattie Award, and was made into the award winning film of the same name in Another of his novels, One Night Out Stealing, appeared in and shortlisted in the Goodman Fielder Wattie Book AwardsHe was also awarded the Frank Sargeson Fellowship in , and began writing a weekly later bi weekly column for the Evening Post Wellington newspaper , syndicated to eight other newspapers In this, and in his analysis, M ori The Crisis and the Challenge, he has developed his ideas on the failures of M oridom, castigating both the traditional leadership and the radical movement for dwelling on the injustices of the past and expecting others to resolve them, instead of encouraging M ori to get on and help themselves The blame for M ori underperformance he puts squarely back on M ori, for not making the most of the opportunities given them This somewhat simplistic message has proved highly controversialState Ward started as a series of episodes on radio in and was published as a novella in The Books in Homes scheme, co founded in by Duff and Christine Fernyhough, with commercial sponsorship and government support, aims to alleviate poverty and illiteracy by providing low cost books to underprivileged children, thus encouraging them to read In its first year alone it put about , new books in the hands of about , children By , the scheme delivered million books to schools around New ZealandWhat Becomes of the Broken Hearted , the sequel to Once Were Warriors, was the winner of the fiction section of the Montana Book Awards and was also made in to a film in Two Sides of the Moon was published in Duff wrote his own memoir, Out of the Mist and the Steam, in His first novel to be set outside of New Zealand is Szabad Inspired by the stories of people Duff met during his several trips to Hungary, the story takes place in Budapest during the Hungarian Revolution Jake s Long Shadow is the third volume in Duff s Once Were Warriors trilogy In Once Were Warriors was brought to the stage across New Zealand as a musical drama.



10 thoughts on “Once Were Warriors

  1. Krazykiwi Krazykiwi says:

    This started out a book review, but it s also a bit of a personal essay, and it s not all pretty And this is really long, consider yourselves warned I thought about doing the 30 day book challenge, but there s always this one question in those kinds of things that make me pause This time it was A book that reminds you of home And this book and the devastatingly good movie made from it are always the first thing that springs to mind.Ironically the movie came up in a class this week Cult This started out a book review, but it s also a bit of a personal essay, and it s not all pretty And this is really long, consider yourselves warned I thought about doing the 30 day book challenge, but there s always this one question in those kinds of things that make me pause This time it was A book that reminds you of home And this book and the devastatingly good movie made from it are always the first thing that springs to mind.Ironically the movie came up in a class this week Cultural Studies class , and everyone turned to me as if to say It s really overdramatised right And I had to tell them no, it s not So I got stuck writing a paper on it, go me And I can t, I just can t be academic and objective, because it hurts like a sonuvabitch So I m writing it out, in hopes that when I ve spilled my soul out here, I won t have any left and I can write that damn paper.If you don t know it, go watch this movie trailer, under 2 minutes Once Were Warriors TrailerNow I m not writing this to make anyone feel bad, just that all of us didn t grow up happy, or feeling loved, and home for me is a four letter word I left when I was 15, not entirely voluntarily, but not entirely unhappily to be out of it either I haven t spoken to most of my family in 15 years, and now that my grandparents are gone, I don t really have any reason to ever speak to any of them again.So let s see, why does it remind me of home Native minority poor, encouraged to urbanise and integrate into white society, but lacking the culture or skills to understand how to do so Check Institutionalised poverty Check Kids sitting in the car in the pub carpark with a bag of chips and a coke, if they re lucky, while mum and dad are in the pub drinking Check Preteen kids cleaning the house of broken beer bottles before school the next morning, after getting no sleep because the party spilled over to the house after the pub closed Check Kids sleeping under bridges, huffing superglue, because nobody gives a damn or takes them home, and oh well they re brown kids anyway Check Violence as a part of daily life problems are solved with fists Check A complete disconnect from the kids own culture, because the above mentioned urbanization Check For background, Maori make up about 15% of the population of NZ, and are economically doing pretty well right now But this book is set before that happened, before the resurgence in culture and language and self sovereignty Back when we were being encouraged to integrate and assimilate and self hate and lots of other things ending in ate The title alludes to the fact that once upon a time, Maori were warriors, strong, independent, self sufficient and proud But isolated in cities, doing unskilled labour, and drinking away their wages, urban Maori in the 70 s and 80 s had very little to be proud of The book is actually set in the 50 s, but it s pretty timeless The movie is set in the 80 s.The plot Well, we have Beth Heke, who grew up in a quite different environment, in one of the few Maori settlements that retained it s integrity and connection to the culture but gave it up for a city boy, Jake And Jake the Muss short for muscles is handsome and charming, and he took her away to the city and they had fine children, but he s a mean mean drunk, and with no hope and nothing really to look forward to, he drinks a lot And to escape the pain, so does Beth.The kids areor less dragging themselves up, and not doing a spectacular job of it The eldest, Nig, is 18 and joins a gang, just seeking to belong somewhere because he sure doesn t belong at home, and the next oldest is continuously being caught at petty crime, 12 year old Grace is struggling to still see the beauty of the world, with her battered notebook of stories and drawings, many based on Maori legends, and stuck with being a mother figure to the youngest ones Two things happen that catalyse things for this damaged family The story opens with the second oldest son arrested once too many times, and taken away to the foster care, in the hands of an old warrior who still remembers what that means Now even Beth can t continue to pretend that her family isn t broken Especially when the reason she can t be there to defend him and ask for him to allowed to come home, is because she can barely stand from the beating she got the night before.And she tries, she really tries to fix it, but some things just can t be fixed And so she falls back into the same patterns, the drinking and living with violence, until it all comes to a head in a tragedy that wasor less inevitable Because some people can survive horrible things happening to them, and some can t, especially when they are young and alone and sensitive.And I ll tell you now, there is a happy ending, but not in the and everyone lived their wildest dreams forever after sense, butin a rage, rage against the dying of the light sense Beth finds strength and reconnects with her true self, and her family and her culture, and finally does fix things, but it s too late for at least one of the children, and it s far far too late for Jake, who is just too damaged to save But Beth finally stops going gentle into anyone s night and takes her life and her children s into her own hands, and you get a sense that maybe the light isn t dying after all, it s just the dark before a dawn.Thing is, I could have been Beth Heke My mother pretty much was And I could have been Grace, except I was luckier than her And when people say oh you re from New Zealand, it s so beautiful there, how could you ever leave , I want to hand them a copy of this book and say this is why Except I don t, because they saw Lord of the Rings and all that spectacular scenery and all the happy brown people in the tourist ads, and they just don t want to hear it And yes, I know things have changed, and a lot, but there s things you can t forgive, and places that even thinking about going to are painful, so I smile and nod and say yes, it s very beautiful I mean look at this picture I used to live here, for the last couple of years before I left NZ, my old house is just off the left of the picture People see these pictures and just think ahh, heavenly and there s so muchto it than that.TaurikuraIf you read this far, you re probably thinking you don t want to read this book, but really, it s good There s a reason it s a NZ classic But it s bleak, and violent and angry, and well Maybe you should get the movie It s not a fun read, and I doubt anyone who ever read it said they loved it the way you can love something that makes you happy But if you think NZ is all sunshine and hobbits, this will give you a very different view Warning though, there is some serious violence including really don t click this if you are sensitive view spoiler an underage rape, and a suicide hide spoiler And I am still too angry sad to write any kind of academic analysis of either of them

  2. Claire Claire says:

    Well That was as expected a full on read Once Were Warriors is a critically important, confronting story of the colonial legacy of disenfranchisement, victimisation, cultural dislocation, poverty and violence in New Zealand This novel is an uncompromising portrait of the issues in New Zealand society that are most difficult for us to knowledge, and even harder still to begin to mend Although almost 20 years old, sadly, this story hasn t dated nearly as much as we d like to imagine it is I Well That was as expected a full on read Once Were Warriors is a critically important, confronting story of the colonial legacy of disenfranchisement, victimisation, cultural dislocation, poverty and violence in New Zealand This novel is an uncompromising portrait of the issues in New Zealand society that are most difficult for us to knowledge, and even harder still to begin to mend Although almost 20 years old, sadly, this story hasn t dated nearly as much as we d like to imagine it is It is a story about what it s like to live a really hard life, and how difficult it is to escape a cycle of poverty, violence and neglect, what it is like to be an outsider in your own land, and the importance of our history I was immensely moved by this

  3. Jenny (Reading Envy) Jenny (Reading Envy) says:

    I read this book as part of my self proclaimed New Zealand November It was in a pile loaned by a professor who worked for years in Australia.This was a very difficult read for several reasons One is the violence it is set in the middle of the 20th century, in urban New Zealand, where people descended from native New Zealanders former warriors are now marginalized and living in poverty This leads to the usual issues of alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, unsupervised children, dea I read this book as part of my self proclaimed New Zealand November It was in a pile loaned by a professor who worked for years in Australia.This was a very difficult read for several reasons One is the violence it is set in the middle of the 20th century, in urban New Zealand, where people descended from native New Zealanders former warriors are now marginalized and living in poverty This leads to the usual issues of alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, unsupervised children, death, suicide, gangs It centers around a couple Jake and Beth, and their children It is graphic, it is unrelenting, it is harsh But from what I understand of that period, accurate If you think of New Zealand in rolling green hills and hobbitses, even just taking a look at the trailer for the movie version should set you right The second reason this is difficult to read is that it alternates between 3 4 characters the parents, and 1 2 children As a reader I didn t want to be in any of their heads The father is a drunk and abusive, violent and feared The mother is abused but turns her victimization into neglect of her children At the start of the novel one of her sons is removed from her home The daughter deals with trying to care for herself and her siblings, while enduring sexual assault, resorting to huffing, etc The prose is dense yet meandering, very much inside the characters heads.From what I understand, while not everything is perfect these days in New Zealand, some effort has gone into raising the standards of the Maori people within the country although I read a play set in 2000 that expressed disbelief that tourists would hitchhike, believing it to be safe Maori culture has been adopted appropriated it s hard to know where that line is from the outside by everything from rugby to the military At least in honoring the culture of warriors, perhaps that pulls them from the margins I m not certain But I felt this book raises many questions like that and is worth a read

  4. Mmars Mmars says:

    It took a while to read this rather short book of fiction for two reasons First, because it written in a dialect using the thoughts of characters damaged by hardships and violence, alcohol and lost or lacking education And second, because the subject matter was so tough it was hard to handle much in one sitting The story takes place in an urban New Zealand Maori community The family depicted is fathered by Jake Heke, a fists always ready man whose prowess hinges on intimidation His medium i It took a while to read this rather short book of fiction for two reasons First, because it written in a dialect using the thoughts of characters damaged by hardships and violence, alcohol and lost or lacking education And second, because the subject matter was so tough it was hard to handle much in one sitting The story takes place in an urban New Zealand Maori community The family depicted is fathered by Jake Heke, a fists always ready man whose prowess hinges on intimidation His medium is beer and his friends are a drunken lot of the same ilk The children of his family and seemingly the entire community are left to fend for themselves on the streets Heke s wife, Beth, has a strain of white in her In her marriage to Jake she has also succumbed to drink and beatings when she speaks her mind And this is the beginning They have a handful of children, Nig, the oldest at seventeen, yearns to belong to the Brown Fists The Brown Fists exist in reality And as gangs go, they rate right up there in the violence factor The second son, Boog, has a soft heart but ends up being taken away by the state when only his sister Grace is with him at his trial And Grace, begins as the saving grace of the family, but becomes a symbol of the utter hopelessness of the Maori lives in their hopeless community and her story should tear any parent s heart apart But without giving anything away, I ll say that she also becomes the catalyst of change So change does begin and hope starts to push it s way into the community by the book s end, but it s a really tough story, authentically brought to life through realistic thoughts and language My enjoyment of the book was so low, that it s tempting to give it a low rating But the writing is so well executed and it is a story needs to be told And a story that needs to reach readers like me Another book I would never have read if not for the Goodreads community Kudos Note This is the first of a series, but it works as a stand alone book

  5. Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) says:

    Oscar Wilde is reported as saying, There are no good books or bad books A book is well written or badly written That is all Well, I don t know if he actually said that Like Twain and Franklin, ol Oscar gets attributed boatloads of things he never actually wrote I m not sure I d agree with it straight across the board, but there are some extremely well written books out there that make damned uncomfortable reading and yet you read them This is one.A friend of mine had to read this book Oscar Wilde is reported as saying, There are no good books or bad books A book is well written or badly written That is all Well, I don t know if he actually said that Like Twain and Franklin, ol Oscar gets attributed boatloads of things he never actually wrote I m not sure I d agree with it straight across the board, but there are some extremely well written books out there that make damned uncomfortable reading and yet you read them This is one.A friend of mine had to read this book for Other Culture Sources degree in Eng Lit and she brought it to me, totally confused That s understandable when English was not her native language I told her, Start by reading the first chapter aloud Once you get the rhythm etc it is easier She said it helped.Be warned, this is not lilywhite travelogue fiction This is angry, sweaty, sad Shit Happens, and this is what happened fiction And it s not terribly fictional as in, people live like this, and not just in NZ.Don t read it if you don t want to think about it for days afterward

  6. Jennifer Jennifer says:

    I don t know if I can say I actually liked this book I recognize its importance, and it had a huge impact on me Once Were Warriors is a brutal account of a Maori family who lives in government housing and receives welfare money The father, Jake, lost his job, but didn t bother finding a new one as he got paid nearly as much to not work at all Since he gives half his welfare check to his wife to maintain the household and feed their six children, he feels like a pretty good guy He keeps the I don t know if I can say I actually liked this book I recognize its importance, and it had a huge impact on me Once Were Warriors is a brutal account of a Maori family who lives in government housing and receives welfare money The father, Jake, lost his job, but didn t bother finding a new one as he got paid nearly as much to not work at all Since he gives half his welfare check to his wife to maintain the household and feed their six children, he feels like a pretty good guy He keeps the other half so he can pay for beer and food for himself When he s drunk, he beats his wife The mother, Beth, tries to keep her home neat and take care of her kids, but all to often, she is drunk as well The oldest son is joining the local gang The next son is taken by child and family services and put in a boy s home The next, a daughter, tries to take care of the younger ones and dreams of a better life However, she is repeatedly molested at night during her parents parties and is afraid to talk to her mother about it Eventually, she becomes so depressed she hangs herself This event serves as a wake up call for Beth She begins to connect with the history of her people She finds the strength to kick Jake out of the house and take control of her life Desperately sad for the loss of her children, she goes out into the neighborhood and gathers up the lost, lonely, hungry children and begins to feed them First with food, then with stories of their warrior history As stark and painful as this story is, the ending is hopeful There is a sense that even one person doing just a little can make a big difference Although this book is mainly intended as a story of the pain and struggle of the Maori people, I believe it translates into any language and any time and place It is the story of people who have lost hope, who don t have pride in themselves It is the culture that is created when the men don t have jobs and drink to escape It is the culture that is created when the women take the beatings and their children watch and hear And then in their pain they lash out at anyone who tries to find something better, as though it was a personal insult It is found in every race and every culture Finding a solution to the evils of poverty and ignorance is the main problem of humanity Why was this book so difficult to read So many reasons Obviously, the content is really rough It would be nearly impossible to tell this type of story without using brutal language and images Another thing that is difficult about it is the style of writing Alan Duff writes like he is inside the heads of the characters There aren t quotation marks defining who is talking and often there aren t really clear transitions between characters This style is difficult to read, but also lends weight to the story being told The reader is looking out at the world through the eyes of the characters and seeing what they see and feeling what they feel It is very personal And that is the thing that really got to me It is so personal I can look around me and see people who are living like Jake and Beth in the story I can see people trying to escape that life and the struggle it is for them And now, thanks to Alan Duff, I have seen it through the eyes of someone living it and I knowthan I used to

  7. Deborah Pickstone Deborah Pickstone says:

    I saw the film years ago and it is devastating And very accurate, sadly This book is not cute People see NZ as beautiful but you can t live on landscapes NZ is also a world leader or close to it in so many things that we can t feel proud of youth suicide, teenage pregnancy, family violence, especially to children Poverty breeds these things and there is plenty of that here Machismo is the way to go for many NZers it is still seen as being strong The men here remain inarticulate a I saw the film years ago and it is devastating And very accurate, sadly This book is not cute People see NZ as beautiful but you can t live on landscapes NZ is also a world leader or close to it in so many things that we can t feel proud of youth suicide, teenage pregnancy, family violence, especially to children Poverty breeds these things and there is plenty of that here Machismo is the way to go for many NZers it is still seen as being strong The men here remain inarticulate a generalisation, of course which I think contributes it s hard to deal with emotions if you have no way of expressing them.This story of the disintegration of a family that was already brutalised is painful to read how muchpainful must it be to live it and I know families like it who can be seen There are manywho are less visible but just as toxic The events as they unfold in the story are entirely believeable Do also see the film especially if you did NOT come from a violent background If you did, both book and film may constitute Groundhog Day and you are excused from reading it Unless you want to, of course

  8. Alison Alison says:

    I m actually on the fence I really liked the book, as much as you can like a depressing book that has a fairly predictable plot, because I do feel like it was written from a deep personal reflection the author is half Maori I believe However I think the danger in these types of novels is if it is all you read about Maoris you think, oh I know their story drunks, addicts, abusers and there you go, you ve categorized a whole racial group As long as you remember that this is fiction and al I m actually on the fence I really liked the book, as much as you can like a depressing book that has a fairly predictable plot, because I do feel like it was written from a deep personal reflection the author is half Maori I believe However I think the danger in these types of novels is if it is all you read about Maoris you think, oh I know their story drunks, addicts, abusers and there you go, you ve categorized a whole racial group As long as you remember that this is fiction and also one perspective, then I think it s a good if sad book Worth a read if you are going to NZ for the first time and are trying to get a non guide book introduction although, I recommend reading another book about Maoris, which I had so I knew some of the terms they threw around about the tattoos, fights, feasts, etc as the author assumes you are familiar with them

  9. Zena Zena says:

    Once were warriors is a very unique novel It s set in the year 1990 and portrays the lives of Maori people within a government residential area known as Pine Block Specific focus is placed on the Heke family and the events that transpire over the course of a year The people of Pine Block are portrayed in a very unflattering light They re all unemployed alcoholics who are prone to violence and neglect their children and families This book garnered quite a bit of controversy when it was first Once were warriors is a very unique novel It s set in the year 1990 and portrays the lives of Maori people within a government residential area known as Pine Block Specific focus is placed on the Heke family and the events that transpire over the course of a year The people of Pine Block are portrayed in a very unflattering light They re all unemployed alcoholics who are prone to violence and neglect their children and families This book garnered quite a bit of controversy when it was first published A lot of people thought it was an inaccurate and extremely negative depiction of Maori people I can t really comment either way however, I can say that I felt the book was a representation of the long term effects of an invaded society The lost tribe was a recurring theme throughout the novel I think the book is supposed to reflect the importance of heritage and culture and the void created by the loss of historyOn and on and on, a reincarnation of what was, a resurgence of fierce pride, a come again of a people who once were warriors.There is a lot of nostalgia for what the Maori culture once was and a sense of hopelessness amongst the characters Grace is one of the Heke children and her story was really interesting She s 13 and incredibly intelligent however, her family circumstances hinder her development She spends a lot of time peeping through the window of a well off white family who have a daughter her age Seeing the love and attention given to this young white girl makes her crave a better life She s angry for the life she was born into and wantsfor herself but knows she is limited to what she can achieve because she comes from a family that stagnate growthIf one is blind, a sea dweller, or a dweller in perpetual darkness, then what matter the stars It bothered him And he thought thus of those humans born to circumstances, social circumstances, into cultures who and which were blind to the great beyond And it gave him a sense of loss, of almost a grieving For them The deprived The ones with no choice perhaps, even, no escape. view spoiler Grace s suicide was incredibly heartbreaking Not just because she took her own life, but because she chose to hang herself in the yard of the rich white family She watched them kiss their daughter goodnight and shower her with affection She watched them go off to sleep and turn out their lights She sat there so patiently watching the everyday life of a family she wished she had Not knowing who her perpetrator was and thinking it was her dad was also really hard to read And while Jake Heke is by no means a loveable character, I did sympathise with him He knows within his gut that he didn t rape his daughter but doubts himself because he s drunk all the time and can t be 100% sure Having that kind of guilt and self doubt breaks the alpha male persona he prides himself on hide spoiler This book is difficult to read for a few reasons Firstly, the content is pretty confronting The book covers everything from physical and emotional abuse to sexual abuse Homelessness of young children, alcoholism, neglected families, a neglect for educating young kids and a lot of violence Additionally, this book also changes POV s from paragraph to paragraph, with no warning Conversations lack quotations and the writing style alters from literary to slang very frequently I actually enjoyed this aspect When Duff was writing in first person the writing was slang and when he was writing in third person, reflecting on the society and events it was written in aliterary style It allowed you to momentarily detach yourself from the story in order to see the bigger picture of a collapsing society.For me this writing style worked so well especially during Nig s story At 17 he joins the Brown Fists, a local gang Growing up, being a part of the Brown Fists appears glorified and respected However, once apart of the gang, Nig is quick to realise the fa ade of brotherhood that he craved so much view spoiler Nig dying was something I didn t really expect I also found it sad that he died for a gang he wasn t blindingly loyal too He has doubts and concerns about the actions of the Brown Fists and disagrees with a lot of the decisions but goes along with them anyway just to belong Just to feel a part of something vaguely resembling a real family hide spoiler You get a window into Maori history within this novel The meaning of the Haka and translations of some traditional songs I found these aspects really interesting and it made meinclined to do a bitresearch into Maori culture.This book is part of a trilogy and I m really looking forward to reading the next instalment I might have to space it out with a lighter read because this book was really sad I really do recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading about different cultures and a reflection of history I enjoyed this book so much and it s one that I know I ll keep thinking about long after I ve read itSo what s a life Potential, sir It s an unrealised potential.

  10. Annabelle Annabelle says:

    Once Were Warriors comes at you like a slap orlikely, a punch in the face The writing is harsh and certainly doesn t waste time with niceties, but it s engaging and often surprisingly beautiful The characters are tragic, living in the limbo of poverty, addiction, and abuse The story is shockingly, heartbreakingly real One of the most striking moments for me came right at the beginning, when Beth considers the lack of books in their home, or the homes of any of her neighbours and frie Once Were Warriors comes at you like a slap orlikely, a punch in the face The writing is harsh and certainly doesn t waste time with niceties, but it s engaging and often surprisingly beautiful The characters are tragic, living in the limbo of poverty, addiction, and abuse The story is shockingly, heartbreakingly real One of the most striking moments for me came right at the beginning, when Beth considers the lack of books in their home, or the homes of any of her neighbours and friends This was such a contrast with my own childhood, I couldn t stop thinking about it, much the same as Beth herself It might be interesting for other readers to know that Alan Duff began his own charitable organisation, Duffy Books in Homes, which now provides New Zealand schools in low socio economic areas with at least five free books per year, per child Having worked in such a school myself, I ve seen the books being delivered, and the excitement on the student s faces as they open them up and start reading It s wonderful to see the author was inspired to initiate this.Of course this is a story based on experience, but I do think Alan Duff s personal voice and thoughts came through a little too much at times through Beth Additionally, some points of the ending seemed a little too suddenly and neatly tied up for me But overall, I very much enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading the sequels and seeing the movie adaptations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 thoughts on “Once Were Warriors

  1. Krazykiwi Krazykiwi says:

    This started out a book review, but it s also a bit of a personal essay, and it s not all pretty And this is really long, consider yourselves warned I thought about doing the 30 day book challenge, but there s always this one question in those kinds of things that make me pause This time it was A book that reminds you of home And this book and the devastatingly good movie made from it are always the first thing that springs to mind.Ironically the movie came up in a class this week Cult This started out a book review, but it s also a bit of a personal essay, and it s not all pretty And this is really long, consider yourselves warned I thought about doing the 30 day book challenge, but there s always this one question in those kinds of things that make me pause This time it was A book that reminds you of home And this book and the devastatingly good movie made from it are always the first thing that springs to mind.Ironically the movie came up in a class this week Cultural Studies class , and everyone turned to me as if to say It s really overdramatised right And I had to tell them no, it s not So I got stuck writing a paper on it, go me And I can t, I just can t be academic and objective, because it hurts like a sonuvabitch So I m writing it out, in hopes that when I ve spilled my soul out here, I won t have any left and I can write that damn paper.If you don t know it, go watch this movie trailer, under 2 minutes Once Were Warriors TrailerNow I m not writing this to make anyone feel bad, just that all of us didn t grow up happy, or feeling loved, and home for me is a four letter word I left when I was 15, not entirely voluntarily, but not entirely unhappily to be out of it either I haven t spoken to most of my family in 15 years, and now that my grandparents are gone, I don t really have any reason to ever speak to any of them again.So let s see, why does it remind me of home Native minority poor, encouraged to urbanise and integrate into white society, but lacking the culture or skills to understand how to do so Check Institutionalised poverty Check Kids sitting in the car in the pub carpark with a bag of chips and a coke, if they re lucky, while mum and dad are in the pub drinking Check Preteen kids cleaning the house of broken beer bottles before school the next morning, after getting no sleep because the party spilled over to the house after the pub closed Check Kids sleeping under bridges, huffing superglue, because nobody gives a damn or takes them home, and oh well they re brown kids anyway Check Violence as a part of daily life problems are solved with fists Check A complete disconnect from the kids own culture, because the above mentioned urbanization Check For background, Maori make up about 15% of the population of NZ, and are economically doing pretty well right now But this book is set before that happened, before the resurgence in culture and language and self sovereignty Back when we were being encouraged to integrate and assimilate and self hate and lots of other things ending in ate The title alludes to the fact that once upon a time, Maori were warriors, strong, independent, self sufficient and proud But isolated in cities, doing unskilled labour, and drinking away their wages, urban Maori in the 70 s and 80 s had very little to be proud of The book is actually set in the 50 s, but it s pretty timeless The movie is set in the 80 s.The plot Well, we have Beth Heke, who grew up in a quite different environment, in one of the few Maori settlements that retained it s integrity and connection to the culture but gave it up for a city boy, Jake And Jake the Muss short for muscles is handsome and charming, and he took her away to the city and they had fine children, but he s a mean mean drunk, and with no hope and nothing really to look forward to, he drinks a lot And to escape the pain, so does Beth.The kids areor less dragging themselves up, and not doing a spectacular job of it The eldest, Nig, is 18 and joins a gang, just seeking to belong somewhere because he sure doesn t belong at home, and the next oldest is continuously being caught at petty crime, 12 year old Grace is struggling to still see the beauty of the world, with her battered notebook of stories and drawings, many based on Maori legends, and stuck with being a mother figure to the youngest ones Two things happen that catalyse things for this damaged family The story opens with the second oldest son arrested once too many times, and taken away to the foster care, in the hands of an old warrior who still remembers what that means Now even Beth can t continue to pretend that her family isn t broken Especially when the reason she can t be there to defend him and ask for him to allowed to come home, is because she can barely stand from the beating she got the night before.And she tries, she really tries to fix it, but some things just can t be fixed And so she falls back into the same patterns, the drinking and living with violence, until it all comes to a head in a tragedy that wasor less inevitable Because some people can survive horrible things happening to them, and some can t, especially when they are young and alone and sensitive.And I ll tell you now, there is a happy ending, but not in the and everyone lived their wildest dreams forever after sense, butin a rage, rage against the dying of the light sense Beth finds strength and reconnects with her true self, and her family and her culture, and finally does fix things, but it s too late for at least one of the children, and it s far far too late for Jake, who is just too damaged to save But Beth finally stops going gentle into anyone s night and takes her life and her children s into her own hands, and you get a sense that maybe the light isn t dying after all, it s just the dark before a dawn.Thing is, I could have been Beth Heke My mother pretty much was And I could have been Grace, except I was luckier than her And when people say oh you re from New Zealand, it s so beautiful there, how could you ever leave , I want to hand them a copy of this book and say this is why Except I don t, because they saw Lord of the Rings and all that spectacular scenery and all the happy brown people in the tourist ads, and they just don t want to hear it And yes, I know things have changed, and a lot, but there s things you can t forgive, and places that even thinking about going to are painful, so I smile and nod and say yes, it s very beautiful I mean look at this picture I used to live here, for the last couple of years before I left NZ, my old house is just off the left of the picture People see these pictures and just think ahh, heavenly and there s so muchto it than that.TaurikuraIf you read this far, you re probably thinking you don t want to read this book, but really, it s good There s a reason it s a NZ classic But it s bleak, and violent and angry, and well Maybe you should get the movie It s not a fun read, and I doubt anyone who ever read it said they loved it the way you can love something that makes you happy But if you think NZ is all sunshine and hobbits, this will give you a very different view Warning though, there is some serious violence including really don t click this if you are sensitive view spoiler an underage rape, and a suicide hide spoiler And I am still too angry sad to write any kind of academic analysis of either of them

  2. Claire Claire says:

    Well That was as expected a full on read Once Were Warriors is a critically important, confronting story of the colonial legacy of disenfranchisement, victimisation, cultural dislocation, poverty and violence in New Zealand This novel is an uncompromising portrait of the issues in New Zealand society that are most difficult for us to knowledge, and even harder still to begin to mend Although almost 20 years old, sadly, this story hasn t dated nearly as much as we d like to imagine it is I Well That was as expected a full on read Once Were Warriors is a critically important, confronting story of the colonial legacy of disenfranchisement, victimisation, cultural dislocation, poverty and violence in New Zealand This novel is an uncompromising portrait of the issues in New Zealand society that are most difficult for us to knowledge, and even harder still to begin to mend Although almost 20 years old, sadly, this story hasn t dated nearly as much as we d like to imagine it is It is a story about what it s like to live a really hard life, and how difficult it is to escape a cycle of poverty, violence and neglect, what it is like to be an outsider in your own land, and the importance of our history I was immensely moved by this

  3. Jenny (Reading Envy) Jenny (Reading Envy) says:

    I read this book as part of my self proclaimed New Zealand November It was in a pile loaned by a professor who worked for years in Australia.This was a very difficult read for several reasons One is the violence it is set in the middle of the 20th century, in urban New Zealand, where people descended from native New Zealanders former warriors are now marginalized and living in poverty This leads to the usual issues of alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, unsupervised children, dea I read this book as part of my self proclaimed New Zealand November It was in a pile loaned by a professor who worked for years in Australia.This was a very difficult read for several reasons One is the violence it is set in the middle of the 20th century, in urban New Zealand, where people descended from native New Zealanders former warriors are now marginalized and living in poverty This leads to the usual issues of alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, unsupervised children, death, suicide, gangs It centers around a couple Jake and Beth, and their children It is graphic, it is unrelenting, it is harsh But from what I understand of that period, accurate If you think of New Zealand in rolling green hills and hobbitses, even just taking a look at the trailer for the movie version should set you right The second reason this is difficult to read is that it alternates between 3 4 characters the parents, and 1 2 children As a reader I didn t want to be in any of their heads The father is a drunk and abusive, violent and feared The mother is abused but turns her victimization into neglect of her children At the start of the novel one of her sons is removed from her home The daughter deals with trying to care for herself and her siblings, while enduring sexual assault, resorting to huffing, etc The prose is dense yet meandering, very much inside the characters heads.From what I understand, while not everything is perfect these days in New Zealand, some effort has gone into raising the standards of the Maori people within the country although I read a play set in 2000 that expressed disbelief that tourists would hitchhike, believing it to be safe Maori culture has been adopted appropriated it s hard to know where that line is from the outside by everything from rugby to the military At least in honoring the culture of warriors, perhaps that pulls them from the margins I m not certain But I felt this book raises many questions like that and is worth a read

  4. Mmars Mmars says:

    It took a while to read this rather short book of fiction for two reasons First, because it written in a dialect using the thoughts of characters damaged by hardships and violence, alcohol and lost or lacking education And second, because the subject matter was so tough it was hard to handle much in one sitting The story takes place in an urban New Zealand Maori community The family depicted is fathered by Jake Heke, a fists always ready man whose prowess hinges on intimidation His medium i It took a while to read this rather short book of fiction for two reasons First, because it written in a dialect using the thoughts of characters damaged by hardships and violence, alcohol and lost or lacking education And second, because the subject matter was so tough it was hard to handle much in one sitting The story takes place in an urban New Zealand Maori community The family depicted is fathered by Jake Heke, a fists always ready man whose prowess hinges on intimidation His medium is beer and his friends are a drunken lot of the same ilk The children of his family and seemingly the entire community are left to fend for themselves on the streets Heke s wife, Beth, has a strain of white in her In her marriage to Jake she has also succumbed to drink and beatings when she speaks her mind And this is the beginning They have a handful of children, Nig, the oldest at seventeen, yearns to belong to the Brown Fists The Brown Fists exist in reality And as gangs go, they rate right up there in the violence factor The second son, Boog, has a soft heart but ends up being taken away by the state when only his sister Grace is with him at his trial And Grace, begins as the saving grace of the family, but becomes a symbol of the utter hopelessness of the Maori lives in their hopeless community and her story should tear any parent s heart apart But without giving anything away, I ll say that she also becomes the catalyst of change So change does begin and hope starts to push it s way into the community by the book s end, but it s a really tough story, authentically brought to life through realistic thoughts and language My enjoyment of the book was so low, that it s tempting to give it a low rating But the writing is so well executed and it is a story needs to be told And a story that needs to reach readers like me Another book I would never have read if not for the Goodreads community Kudos Note This is the first of a series, but it works as a stand alone book

  5. Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) says:

    Oscar Wilde is reported as saying, There are no good books or bad books A book is well written or badly written That is all Well, I don t know if he actually said that Like Twain and Franklin, ol Oscar gets attributed boatloads of things he never actually wrote I m not sure I d agree with it straight across the board, but there are some extremely well written books out there that make damned uncomfortable reading and yet you read them This is one.A friend of mine had to read this book Oscar Wilde is reported as saying, There are no good books or bad books A book is well written or badly written That is all Well, I don t know if he actually said that Like Twain and Franklin, ol Oscar gets attributed boatloads of things he never actually wrote I m not sure I d agree with it straight across the board, but there are some extremely well written books out there that make damned uncomfortable reading and yet you read them This is one.A friend of mine had to read this book for Other Culture Sources degree in Eng Lit and she brought it to me, totally confused That s understandable when English was not her native language I told her, Start by reading the first chapter aloud Once you get the rhythm etc it is easier She said it helped.Be warned, this is not lilywhite travelogue fiction This is angry, sweaty, sad Shit Happens, and this is what happened fiction And it s not terribly fictional as in, people live like this, and not just in NZ.Don t read it if you don t want to think about it for days afterward

  6. Jennifer Jennifer says:

    I don t know if I can say I actually liked this book I recognize its importance, and it had a huge impact on me Once Were Warriors is a brutal account of a Maori family who lives in government housing and receives welfare money The father, Jake, lost his job, but didn t bother finding a new one as he got paid nearly as much to not work at all Since he gives half his welfare check to his wife to maintain the household and feed their six children, he feels like a pretty good guy He keeps the I don t know if I can say I actually liked this book I recognize its importance, and it had a huge impact on me Once Were Warriors is a brutal account of a Maori family who lives in government housing and receives welfare money The father, Jake, lost his job, but didn t bother finding a new one as he got paid nearly as much to not work at all Since he gives half his welfare check to his wife to maintain the household and feed their six children, he feels like a pretty good guy He keeps the other half so he can pay for beer and food for himself When he s drunk, he beats his wife The mother, Beth, tries to keep her home neat and take care of her kids, but all to often, she is drunk as well The oldest son is joining the local gang The next son is taken by child and family services and put in a boy s home The next, a daughter, tries to take care of the younger ones and dreams of a better life However, she is repeatedly molested at night during her parents parties and is afraid to talk to her mother about it Eventually, she becomes so depressed she hangs herself This event serves as a wake up call for Beth She begins to connect with the history of her people She finds the strength to kick Jake out of the house and take control of her life Desperately sad for the loss of her children, she goes out into the neighborhood and gathers up the lost, lonely, hungry children and begins to feed them First with food, then with stories of their warrior history As stark and painful as this story is, the ending is hopeful There is a sense that even one person doing just a little can make a big difference Although this book is mainly intended as a story of the pain and struggle of the Maori people, I believe it translates into any language and any time and place It is the story of people who have lost hope, who don t have pride in themselves It is the culture that is created when the men don t have jobs and drink to escape It is the culture that is created when the women take the beatings and their children watch and hear And then in their pain they lash out at anyone who tries to find something better, as though it was a personal insult It is found in every race and every culture Finding a solution to the evils of poverty and ignorance is the main problem of humanity Why was this book so difficult to read So many reasons Obviously, the content is really rough It would be nearly impossible to tell this type of story without using brutal language and images Another thing that is difficult about it is the style of writing Alan Duff writes like he is inside the heads of the characters There aren t quotation marks defining who is talking and often there aren t really clear transitions between characters This style is difficult to read, but also lends weight to the story being told The reader is looking out at the world through the eyes of the characters and seeing what they see and feeling what they feel It is very personal And that is the thing that really got to me It is so personal I can look around me and see people who are living like Jake and Beth in the story I can see people trying to escape that life and the struggle it is for them And now, thanks to Alan Duff, I have seen it through the eyes of someone living it and I knowthan I used to

  7. Deborah Pickstone Deborah Pickstone says:

    I saw the film years ago and it is devastating And very accurate, sadly This book is not cute People see NZ as beautiful but you can t live on landscapes NZ is also a world leader or close to it in so many things that we can t feel proud of youth suicide, teenage pregnancy, family violence, especially to children Poverty breeds these things and there is plenty of that here Machismo is the way to go for many NZers it is still seen as being strong The men here remain inarticulate a I saw the film years ago and it is devastating And very accurate, sadly This book is not cute People see NZ as beautiful but you can t live on landscapes NZ is also a world leader or close to it in so many things that we can t feel proud of youth suicide, teenage pregnancy, family violence, especially to children Poverty breeds these things and there is plenty of that here Machismo is the way to go for many NZers it is still seen as being strong The men here remain inarticulate a generalisation, of course which I think contributes it s hard to deal with emotions if you have no way of expressing them.This story of the disintegration of a family that was already brutalised is painful to read how muchpainful must it be to live it and I know families like it who can be seen There are manywho are less visible but just as toxic The events as they unfold in the story are entirely believeable Do also see the film especially if you did NOT come from a violent background If you did, both book and film may constitute Groundhog Day and you are excused from reading it Unless you want to, of course

  8. Alison Alison says:

    I m actually on the fence I really liked the book, as much as you can like a depressing book that has a fairly predictable plot, because I do feel like it was written from a deep personal reflection the author is half Maori I believe However I think the danger in these types of novels is if it is all you read about Maoris you think, oh I know their story drunks, addicts, abusers and there you go, you ve categorized a whole racial group As long as you remember that this is fiction and al I m actually on the fence I really liked the book, as much as you can like a depressing book that has a fairly predictable plot, because I do feel like it was written from a deep personal reflection the author is half Maori I believe However I think the danger in these types of novels is if it is all you read about Maoris you think, oh I know their story drunks, addicts, abusers and there you go, you ve categorized a whole racial group As long as you remember that this is fiction and also one perspective, then I think it s a good if sad book Worth a read if you are going to NZ for the first time and are trying to get a non guide book introduction although, I recommend reading another book about Maoris, which I had so I knew some of the terms they threw around about the tattoos, fights, feasts, etc as the author assumes you are familiar with them

  9. Zena Zena says:

    Once were warriors is a very unique novel It s set in the year 1990 and portrays the lives of Maori people within a government residential area known as Pine Block Specific focus is placed on the Heke family and the events that transpire over the course of a year The people of Pine Block are portrayed in a very unflattering light They re all unemployed alcoholics who are prone to violence and neglect their children and families This book garnered quite a bit of controversy when it was first Once were warriors is a very unique novel It s set in the year 1990 and portrays the lives of Maori people within a government residential area known as Pine Block Specific focus is placed on the Heke family and the events that transpire over the course of a year The people of Pine Block are portrayed in a very unflattering light They re all unemployed alcoholics who are prone to violence and neglect their children and families This book garnered quite a bit of controversy when it was first published A lot of people thought it was an inaccurate and extremely negative depiction of Maori people I can t really comment either way however, I can say that I felt the book was a representation of the long term effects of an invaded society The lost tribe was a recurring theme throughout the novel I think the book is supposed to reflect the importance of heritage and culture and the void created by the loss of historyOn and on and on, a reincarnation of what was, a resurgence of fierce pride, a come again of a people who once were warriors.There is a lot of nostalgia for what the Maori culture once was and a sense of hopelessness amongst the characters Grace is one of the Heke children and her story was really interesting She s 13 and incredibly intelligent however, her family circumstances hinder her development She spends a lot of time peeping through the window of a well off white family who have a daughter her age Seeing the love and attention given to this young white girl makes her crave a better life She s angry for the life she was born into and wantsfor herself but knows she is limited to what she can achieve because she comes from a family that stagnate growthIf one is blind, a sea dweller, or a dweller in perpetual darkness, then what matter the stars It bothered him And he thought thus of those humans born to circumstances, social circumstances, into cultures who and which were blind to the great beyond And it gave him a sense of loss, of almost a grieving For them The deprived The ones with no choice perhaps, even, no escape. view spoiler Grace s suicide was incredibly heartbreaking Not just because she took her own life, but because she chose to hang herself in the yard of the rich white family She watched them kiss their daughter goodnight and shower her with affection She watched them go off to sleep and turn out their lights She sat there so patiently watching the everyday life of a family she wished she had Not knowing who her perpetrator was and thinking it was her dad was also really hard to read And while Jake Heke is by no means a loveable character, I did sympathise with him He knows within his gut that he didn t rape his daughter but doubts himself because he s drunk all the time and can t be 100% sure Having that kind of guilt and self doubt breaks the alpha male persona he prides himself on hide spoiler This book is difficult to read for a few reasons Firstly, the content is pretty confronting The book covers everything from physical and emotional abuse to sexual abuse Homelessness of young children, alcoholism, neglected families, a neglect for educating young kids and a lot of violence Additionally, this book also changes POV s from paragraph to paragraph, with no warning Conversations lack quotations and the writing style alters from literary to slang very frequently I actually enjoyed this aspect When Duff was writing in first person the writing was slang and when he was writing in third person, reflecting on the society and events it was written in aliterary style It allowed you to momentarily detach yourself from the story in order to see the bigger picture of a collapsing society.For me this writing style worked so well especially during Nig s story At 17 he joins the Brown Fists, a local gang Growing up, being a part of the Brown Fists appears glorified and respected However, once apart of the gang, Nig is quick to realise the fa ade of brotherhood that he craved so much view spoiler Nig dying was something I didn t really expect I also found it sad that he died for a gang he wasn t blindingly loyal too He has doubts and concerns about the actions of the Brown Fists and disagrees with a lot of the decisions but goes along with them anyway just to belong Just to feel a part of something vaguely resembling a real family hide spoiler You get a window into Maori history within this novel The meaning of the Haka and translations of some traditional songs I found these aspects really interesting and it made meinclined to do a bitresearch into Maori culture.This book is part of a trilogy and I m really looking forward to reading the next instalment I might have to space it out with a lighter read because this book was really sad I really do recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading about different cultures and a reflection of history I enjoyed this book so much and it s one that I know I ll keep thinking about long after I ve read itSo what s a life Potential, sir It s an unrealised potential.

  10. Annabelle Annabelle says:

    Once Were Warriors comes at you like a slap orlikely, a punch in the face The writing is harsh and certainly doesn t waste time with niceties, but it s engaging and often surprisingly beautiful The characters are tragic, living in the limbo of poverty, addiction, and abuse The story is shockingly, heartbreakingly real One of the most striking moments for me came right at the beginning, when Beth considers the lack of books in their home, or the homes of any of her neighbours and frie Once Were Warriors comes at you like a slap orlikely, a punch in the face The writing is harsh and certainly doesn t waste time with niceties, but it s engaging and often surprisingly beautiful The characters are tragic, living in the limbo of poverty, addiction, and abuse The story is shockingly, heartbreakingly real One of the most striking moments for me came right at the beginning, when Beth considers the lack of books in their home, or the homes of any of her neighbours and friends This was such a contrast with my own childhood, I couldn t stop thinking about it, much the same as Beth herself It might be interesting for other readers to know that Alan Duff began his own charitable organisation, Duffy Books in Homes, which now provides New Zealand schools in low socio economic areas with at least five free books per year, per child Having worked in such a school myself, I ve seen the books being delivered, and the excitement on the student s faces as they open them up and start reading It s wonderful to see the author was inspired to initiate this.Of course this is a story based on experience, but I do think Alan Duff s personal voice and thoughts came through a little too much at times through Beth Additionally, some points of the ending seemed a little too suddenly and neatly tied up for me But overall, I very much enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading the sequels and seeing the movie adaptations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *