Author(s): Joanna Orwin
Guardian of the Land was first published in 1985 by Oxford, winning the 1986 Children's Book of the Year and is an exciting time travel adventure which also has valuable historical and ecological lessons. It has been selected as the fourth title in the Collins Modern New Zealand Classic series.
Twelve-year-old David has been ill and is staying with relatives in Kaikoura, where he meets Rua, and his ancient grandmother. She's a powerful kuia, determined to recover the guardian of the land, a long-lost carved whalebone taonga, for her people before she dies. On a visit to a seal colony the boys are caught up in a strange dream, as without knowing it they have become the tools Nanny Henare will use across time to fulfill her quest.
The boys cross backwards and forwards in time, tracing the path of the bone carving from pre-European times to the musket wars and the sealing and whaling era of colonisation before they are finally able to solve the puzzle of the taonga's whereabouts in their own time, and restore it to its people.