The New Zealand Novel 1860-1965
And a Girl
And a Girl. Anne Holden's short novel Rata, 1965, is a refreshing change from these. Rata Lovell, child of a Pakeha father and a Maori mother, is an orphan of eleven, living in Wellington in the care of an earnest Pakeha spinster. Lonely and without loyalties, she plays truant, gets deeper into trivial deceptions, and finally runs away (in a vividly rendered journey) to find her Maori relatives in the Urewera country. We have an authentic and perceptive child's-eye view of life in the pa, where she is taken in without question; her half blood however makes her sharply aware of social differences, and the book closes on her decision to accept the self which the Pakeha world offers her. Rata is an unpretentious book, truthful and simple.