I'm in an LAX transit lounge, on my way back to the UK. There's coffee out of a machine and free wireless: what more could you want? TMiddy has emailed to tell me that DOWNTON ABBEY series 2 just ended, and He Knows Who Died. This is why internet access is so vital.
Last Monday, October 31st, the launch for RANGATIRA took place at Art + Object in Auckland. This is the contemporary art auction house run by my dear friend, Hamish Coney. (Later that week they held a record-breaking auction of rare NZ books and manuscripts). Lots of family and friends there, a big crowd from Penguin, other writers and literary people-about-town. Here are a few pictures. The first is of the podium with a blow-up of the book's beautiful cover.
Debra Miller of Penguin Books NZ welcomed everyone and said some very kind things about the novel; then Steve Braunias launched it (see a copy of his speech here); and then I stood up and burbled and cried, as I always do, while people laugh at me. (See my mother, seated, and father, standing - both brandishing walking sticks!)
I was very happy that my cousins drove down from Whangarei, and also that so many people made the long drive down from the Paratene Te Manu marae in Ngunguru, and from the Ngunguru School, which was founded by Paratene and his matua, Henare Te Moananui, in 1870. There was a mihi, a blessing, a waiata. I was very touched. Penguin were kind enough to let the marae take the cover blow-up with them back up North to Ngunguru.
The catering was in the capable hands of my nephew, Matthew Hill, and his gorgeous girlfriend Martha Carrillo. Martha is from Mexico and her Chilean friends, Jerson and Francisca, were also helping. (I wanted an all-Spanish-speaking team.)
Jo from Unity Books was on hand to sell books - as she has been at all my book launches in New Zealand going back to QUEEN OF BEAUTY in 2002. Here I'm signing a copy for Jill Rawnsley, until recently the artistic director of the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival.
This last photo I took this weekend at Unity Books in High Street in the city. They have a fantastic window display for the novel.
It was a brief visit home, congested with interviews and meetings, but I was really happy to be back for the launch of RANGATIRA. I'm proud of it. The novel is dedicated to my parents.