Author(s): Elsie Locke
Collins Modern New Zealand Classics 3 Canoes in the Mist has been selected as the third title to be released in this series, after Tripswitch and The Blue Lawn. With a younger readership, of 9-12, this much-loved classic retells the traumatic events surrounding the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera, from the viewpoint of two young schoolgirls. Lillian lives with her widowed mother at Te Wairoa, the village which acts as a centre for tourists who flock to see the famous eighth wonder of the world - the pink and white terraces. When Mattie, an English girl of her own age arrives with her parents, Lillian finally has an opportunity to join a tour party led by her friend, the famous Guide Sophia. But these are worrying times - the old tohunga has been prophesying doom and disaster, and when they travel across Lake Rotomahana, a mysterious canoe appears out of the mists - a waka wairua, or ghost canoe, and all who live in the shadow of Mt Tarawera are about to have their lives changed forever. An exciting tale of New Zealand's recent history, Elsie Locke's timeless classic has now been reissued for a new audience.
Elsie Locke was born in 1912, in Hamilton, and died in 2001 in Christchurch. She has been described as a peace campaigner, environmentalist, novelist, historian, community worker and national treasure. Elsie was also a feminist and socialist who campaigned against nuclear weapons and wrote more than 20 books, including a number of historical novels for children and several social histories of New Zealand. She set up a women?s magazine which became a leading feminist publication, and helped to found the Sex Hygiene and Birth Society which later became the Family Planning Association. In 1959 she won the Katherine Mansfield Award for non-fiction for an essay in Landfall. Her first novel for children was The Runaway Settlers, published in 1965. This was followed by other historical novels for children. In 1987 Elsie had an Honorary Doctor of Literature conferred on her by the University of Canterbury for her work in children?s literature and history. The Canterbury Council of the New Zealand Reading Association awarded her the Nada Beardsley Literacy Award in 1992, the same year she was awarded the Children?s Literature Association Award for distinguished services to New Zealand literature. In 1995 she was awarded the Margaret Mahy Lecture Award by the New Zealand Children?s Book Foundation for her contribution to children?s literature, and in 1999 she was awarded the Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-Loved Book for The Runaway Settlers (1965).