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About the book
  • Published: 7 December 2012
  • ISBN: 9781775532859
  • Imprint: RHNZ Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $30.00

Once Were Warriors




A New Zealand classic, this novel is a raw and powerful portrayal of Maori in New Zealand society.

A New Zealand classic, this novel is a raw and powerful portrayal of Maori in New Zealand society.

Alan Duff's groundbreaking first novel is one of the most talked-about books ever published in New Zealand and is the basis of a major New Zealand film and won the Hubert Church PEN Best First Book Award. This hard-hitting story is a frank and uncompromising portrait in which everyone is a victim, until the strength and vision of one woman transcends brutality and leads the way to a new life.

'Alan Duff's first novel bursts upon our literary landscape with all the noise and power of a new volcano' - Michael Gifkins, NZ Listener

  • Pub date: 7 December 2012
  • ISBN: 9781775532859
  • Imprint: RHNZ Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $30.00

About the Author

Alan Duff

Alan Duff was born in Rotorua in 1950. He has written novels, including Once Were Warriors, One Night Out Stealing and What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?, a novella (State Ward), several children’s books and a number of non-fiction works. Once Were Warriors won the Pen Best First Book of Fiction Award and What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? won the Montana New Zealand Book Award for Fiction. Both novels were made into internationally acclaimed films.

Duff was the driving force behind the Books in Homes scheme, which, with commercial sponsorship and government support, aims to break the cycle of illiteracy, poverty, anger and violence among underprivileged children by providing books for them to own.

The New Zealand Listener claimed that Duff’s debut, Once Were Warriors, ‘bursts upon the literary landscape with all the noise and power of a new volcano’, while acclaimed writer Witi Ihimaera wrote, ‘This is the Haka, the rage of a people who, yes, once were warriors . . . A kick to the guts of New Zealand’s much-vaunted pride in its Maori/Pakeha race relations. A breathless fearless debut.’

The Sydney Morning Herald regarded the sequel, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?, as ‘a masterpiece’: ‘powerful, authentic, moving, brilliantly written . . . a profound and passionate novel . . . a memorable experience’. The Australian praised its ‘universal truths to be savoured for their poetic insight’, while the Canberra Times called it ‘a brilliant work . . . poetic and full of hope’.

The New Zealand Listener wrote that What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? ‘carries the story on with doubled brilliance. The new book is just as dynamic, just as in-your-face as the first one, but less violent, more layered, more fundamentally thoughtful and challenging.’

Also by Alan Duff

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Praise for Once Were Warriors

“At last a Maori writer has managed to hang out all the dirty Maori washing with some kind of dignity and at the same time place the blame where it belongs. No other Maori writer has achieved this to the same degree - small loads of dirty washing yes, but not the front fence covered in rags and holey underwear. Most of the Maori writers have been careful not to hang it out in case the Pakehas would see it and use it against them. In the backyard - amongst themselves, it's family and it's okay.”

Bruce Stewart, NZ Books


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