writing about Māori for New Zealand's future
Several decades ago Dr Monty Soutar knew someone would have a crack at writing the books he is currently working on, he just did not know it would be him.
The historian, Māori scholar and Waitangi Tribunal member has recently been awarded the prestigious, biennial $100,000 Michael King Writer’s Fellowship from Creative New Zealand to finish his trilogy, Kāwai – a saga from the uttermost end of the Earth.
The historical novels narrate the experiences of nine successive generations of one Māori family through pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Aotearoa, spanning the 1700s right through to 2018, and will lay bare the impact of European colonisation on New Zealand to a global audience.
“It’s like a history of New Zealand through Māori eyes,” Soutar (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Kahungunu) says, adding that he decided on the books’ historical fiction medium so they could reach younger, more diverse audiences.