Tane's War examines gay Māori experience

By Jessica Tyson
  • Auckland

A new novel is out examining the challenges faced by gay Māori men during World War One and later in rural New Zealand.

Tane's War, written by Brendaniel Weir, follows the fictional story of a Māori soldier who has an affair with a British officer amidst the battlefields during the war.

After the soldier returns to New Zealand, during the conservative 1950s, he gets to know two young Māori shearers in Hunua, Auckland who develop a romantic relationship.

At the time the penalty for homosexuality was imprisonment.

Mark Johnson of Cloud Ink Press, the book's publisher, says "We are excited to publish this important and timely novel.  Brendaniel's writing is packed with lived truths and experiences, motivated by a duty to the marginalised people of New Zealand, Aotearoa who have been quietly wiped from history."

Weir grew up in Auckland and at the age of 16, he inadvertently came out to his parents by taking part in a gay rights march during the Homosexual Law Reform era.

When he then found himself homeless, Auckland's gay community became his surrogate family.

The book is available in-store and online at Cloudlink.