Staff Review: The Bone Tree

The Bone Tree

by Airana Ngarewa

Review by Māia

The Bone Tree is a personal tale of grief, institutional brutality and generational violence told with humour and tenderness. As two brothers navigate the recent loss of their mother while caring for their volatile father, Kauri, the eldest, must confront his increasingly distressing reality and uncover the mystery of his parents’ past. Kauri is an unforgettable and deeply affecting character, both afraid and determined to heal the wounds of his past. His instinctive yet reluctant connection to his whakapapa guides him in unsuspecting ways as he ventures into the city and bridges lost whānau connections. Ngarewa’s writing is sensory and atmospheric, giving attention to moments of humanity in bleak and divisive circumstances. Kauri’s innocent experience of a brutal world makes The Bone Tree a painful but important read. For fans of Once Were Warriors, Better the Blood and Auē.