An inventive exploration of Indigenous families, womanhood, and alternate post-colonial realities by a writer of Māori and Coast Salish descent.
Dear grandmother, I am writing this song for you. I am a stranger in this place, he tauhou ahau, reintroducing myself to your land.
Tauhou envisions a shared past between two Indigenous cultures, set on reimagined versions of Vancouver Island and Aotearoa, two lands that now sit side by side in the ocean. Each chapter in this innovative hybrid novel is a fable, an autobiographical memory, a poem. A monster guards the cultural objects in a museum, a woman uncovers her own grave, another woman remembers her estranged father. On the rainforest beaches or the grassy dunes, sisters and cousins contend with the ghosts of the past—all the way back to when the first foreign ships arrived on their shores. In a testament to the resilience of Indigenous women, the two sides of this family, Coast Salish and Māori, must work together in understanding and forgiveness to heal that which has been forced upon them by colonialism. Tauhou is an ardent search for answers, for ways to live with truth. It is a longing for home, to return to the land and sea.
‘A work of great significance, integrity, craft, and poise.’ —Alison Whittaker, author of Blakwork
Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, W̱SÁNEĆ) holds an MA from the International Institute of Modern Letters. She won the 2020 Adam Foundation Prize and was runner-up in the 2021 Surrey Hotel–Newsroom writer’s residency award. She lives on the Kāpiti Coast of Aotearoa New Zealand.