Book Review : The Pounamu Prophecy
The Pounamu Prophecy cleverly weaves two stories into one. First there is Mere who is a part of the Ngati Whatua tribe of Auckland. She experienced much abuse and oppression at the hands of the English immigrants. Through the course of the book we hear her story from when she was young until her sixties.
Then there is the story of James and Helene who have been married for five years but their relationship is struggling from the demands of modern life. The overlap of these two stories occurs when Mere spends a few weeks in James and Helene’s guest house. Mere is wanting a quiet place to write a memoir for the benefit of her children and grandchildren.
Cindy Williams creates a great balance between these two stories and I found switching between the two was well timed. It was also an interesting combination of stories because it’s not immediately obvious why there would be any connection. Yet there are many things that are common to all people the need for love, forgiveness, belonging and companionship. Then there are common experiences of injustice, betrayal and abuse, to a greater or lesser extent. Cindy does a good job of addressing these issues in the context of the story.
An enjoyable read.
Footnote: My enjoyment of this book was enhanced by visiting New Zealand last year with my husband. We did a number of day trips with different tour companies. Each time we were given a brief history of New Zealand and it was interesting to note the different perspectives of the tour guides. There was the English tour guide who failed to mention any of the atrocities committed by the white settlers. There was the Maori guide who acknowledged the injustices which had taken place but was appreciative of the good things English culture had brought like medicine and education. Then there was the Maori guide who only mentioned the injustices of the English and didn’t acknowledge any of the benefits. Taken together we end up with a more complete understanding of New Zealand’s history.