Story: Māori fiction – ngā tuhinga paki

Once were warriors

Once were warriors

Alan Duff's Once were warriors is a novel as hard as the characters it contains. The Heke family live in a world of alcohol, violence, unemployment and cultural alienation. Beth Heke tries to provide her children with love, but her efforts are undermined by grinding poverty and the violence meted out to her by her husband, Jake. A tragedy prompts Beth to reconnect with her Māori roots, but she is unable to save all of her family. The book was turned into an internationally successful film in 1994.

Using this item

New Zealand Film Commission

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, 'Māori fiction – ngā tuhinga paki - Confronting reality', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/42298/once-were-warriors (accessed 19 September 2019)

Story by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, published 22 Oct 2014