The Mires

Three women give birth in different countries and different decades. In the near future, they become neighbours in a coastal town in Aotearoa New Zealand. Sera is the most recent arrival, having fled ecological devastation in Europe with her husband Adam and two-year-old Aliana. Janet has lived in the neighbourhood long enough to see the demographics change, but she’s never had refugee neighbours before, and isn’t sure how she feels about them. She lives alone until her adult son Conor returns unannounced, spending long hours holed up in Janet’s spare room online instead of finding a job. Single parent Keri has an uneasy friendship with her older neighbour, who likes to bring over produce from the garden and keep an eye what’s happening, but Keri can’t afford to say no to Janet’s gifts of food and she has her hands full with a teenager and a tearaway toddler. Her daughter, Wairere, is a strange and gifted child, always picking up on stuff that isn’t hers to worry about. And suddenly there’s a lot of stuff to worry about – people who have arrived in her world with terror either in their nightmares, in the pasts they’ve left behind, or, frighteningly, in the future they dream of.

Behind these characters is a narrator who runs through all their lives, under their homes, into their pasts and futures. Layers of history are never far from under the characters’ feet as they make their own small journeys and marks on the land. Though they cross paths with forebears unknowingly, the narrator sees the people who have gone before and the devastating change that has already been wrought on a place that was once entirely wetlands.

Tina Makereti writes novels, short fiction and creative non-fiction. Her debut story collection, Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa (Huia Publishers 2010)won the Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Award for Fiction in 2011. In 2016 her story Black Milk won the Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize for the Pacific Region. Her first novel, Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings (Vintage NZ, 2014) was longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award 2016 and also won the 2014 Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Award for Fiction. In 2009 she was the recipient of the Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing (non-fiction), and in the same year received the Pikihuia Award for Best Short Story Written in English. Tina’s second novel, The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke, is about a young Māori man who was exhibited in the Egyptian Hall in London in the 1840s. Film rights have been optioned by Piki Films, the producers of Jojo Rabbit and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Tina has been writer in residence at Randall Cottage, Wellington, and Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt. She is of Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Rangatahi-Matakore and Pākehā descent.