Author(s): T K Roxborogh
On a beach clean-up, thirteen-year-old one-legged Charlie and his half-brother, Robbie, find a ponaturi - a mermaid - washed up on a beach.
An ancient grudge between the Maori gods Tane and Tangaroa has flared up because a port being built in the bay is degrading the ocean and creatures are fleeing the sea. This has reignited anger between the gods, which breaks out in storms, earthquakes and huge seas. The human world and realm of the gods are thrown into chaos. The ponaturi believes Charlie is the only one who can stop the destruction because his stump is a sign that he straddles both worlds.
So begins Charlie's journey to find a way to reunite the gods, realise the power in the ancient songs his grandfather taught him, and discover why he was the one for the task.
The author is an award-winning writer for young adults, having been recognised at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, Storylines and LIANZA Young Adult Awards. Maori traditional stories and characters are central in this contemporary story, and mythology is melded with current-day lives and people. This adventure story has a great pace and loveable characters who infuse the story with humour, warmth, wisdom and humanity. The story highlights current environmental issues from Maori and western perspectives and the wider impacts of local decisions. The story weaves many themes, including traditional stories and knowledge, care for the environment, having courage and overcoming obstacles, family and brotherly relationships, and community.
T K Roxborogh (Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri) is an award-winning author of more than thirty published works, both fiction and non-fiction. Her latest publication was My New Zealand Story: Bastion Point, which won the Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction at the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and a Storylines Notable Book Award. She teaches English has been a writing mentor and a judge for short stories and for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.