My New Zealand Story : Stop the tour by Bill Nagelkerke. Journey to Tangiwai by David Hill @scholasticNZ : Two redesigned editions in this great series on NZ history for middle grade readers.

Posted: July 22, 2021 in Intermediate, Primary School
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My New Zealand Story : Stop the tour

By Bill Nagelkerke

ISBN 9781775437178

Scholastic NZ

Forty years ago the face of New Zealand Rugby Tours changed forever. The Springbok Tour of 1981 was held in different cities in New Zealand. The tour included the team from South Africa, and its presence in New Zealand created so much conflict, that it is still talked about today. In South Africa there was a racist apartheid system, where people were treated differently because of the colour of their skin. Black people were segregated from white and not allowed to attend the same places or events, or have the same rights as white people.

When it was known that the South African team; the Springboks, were coming to New Zealand people immediately took sides. Many people thought that sports and politics should not mix and that the tour should go ahead. Many others thought that the apartheid system was so wrong, that the tour should be banned. The nation was divided.

Bill Nagelkerke has given us an insight to this terrible time in our sporting history, through his character Martin Daly.

Martin sits on the fence, not knowing what to think, or who is right. Through a series of incidents, Martin finally takes a side and his life changes. The tour is splitting friends and families. Riots are happening, people are getting hurt and tensions are incredibly high. It is not just adults who are marching against the tour, but students too became involved. Martin’s initial ambivalence is believable but then we see him grow and take responsibility for his choices. Growth in a character is always an indication of a good writer, and a good story, which is exactly what we have in this book.

First published in 2007, this retitled and redesigned version is perfect for a new generation of readers. In time to mark the 40th anniversary, this book is a great reminder that sometimes, you have to learn that sitting on the fence and not taking part, is not good enough. Sometimes, you have to take sides.

My New Zealand Story :Journey to Tangiwai

By David Hill

ISBN 9781775436386

Scholastic NZ

David Hill brings us the diary of Peter Cotterill, a teen Scout who is working hard to attend a major competition for first aid. He studies hard, works a paper round and spends time with his Uncle, recently back from a war that left him sad and angry.
It is 1953 and a year for all New Zealanders to remember. It is the year Edmund Hillary climbed Mount Everest, the same year that the Queen had her coronation, but it is also the same year as one of New Zealand’s worst disasters.

Peter is determined to win the local Scout first-aid competition. Winning the locals will mean he could get to the Nationals and that is what he has his heart set on. There is much happening in the background of all his tests and learning. His Uncle Hugh is not well and getting worse all the time. Peter and his uncle are close so this causes lots of concern. While everyone is looking forward to the Queen’s coronation, Uncle Hugh is very much against anything to do with the royals.

It is on his way to the finals, that Peter finds himself in one of New Zealand’s deadliest disasters. How he survives, you’ll have to read yourself.

I love how David Hill has dropped lots of historical moments in this book. One was the six o’clock closing of the public bars.

Redesigned with a fresh new eye-catching cover, having first been published in 2010, this book will appeal to a new generation of readers, too.

Both books have photos and historic notes to support their time in New Zealand’s history.

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