Evocative. Searing. Community.
  • The Mires
  • Download Cover

The Mires

Tina Makereti

Water will come and you think it will be soft. You think it will be smooth and find its way around your things: your houses and cars and furniture, your gardens and windows and hope. But water can be the foot of an elephant, the horns of a moose, a herd of buffalo running from a lion, water can be the kauri falling in the forest, a two-tonne truck, a whole stadium filled with 50,000 people, screaming …  Water is life, and water can be death.
Three women give birth in different countries and different decades. In the near future, they become neighbours in a coastal town in Aotearoa New Zealand. Single parent Keri has her hands full with four-year-old tearaway Walty and teen Wairere, a strange and gifted child, who always picks up on things that aren't hers to worry about. They live next door to Janet, a white woman with an opinion about everything, and new arrival Sera, whose family are refugees from ecological devastation in Europe.
When Janet’s son Conor arrives home without warning, sporting a fresh buzzcut and a new tattoo, the quiet tension between the neighbours grows, but no one suspects just how extreme Conor has become. No one except Wairere, who can feel the danger in their midst, and the swamp beneath their street, watching and waiting.
The Mires is a tender and fierce novel that asks what we do when faced with things we don’t understand. Is our impulse to destroy or connect?

About the Author

Tina Makereti Tina Makereti is a New Zealander of Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Rangatahi-Matakore and Pākehā descent. Her novels include The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke and Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings. In 2016 her short story ‘Black Milk’ won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, Pacific region. She also co-edited Black Marks on the White Page, an anthology that celebrates Māori and Pasifika writing, with Witi Ihimaera. Her novels, essays and short stories have won recognition in Aotearoa, and she has been the recipient of several writers residencies and awards. Tina teaches creative writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. She wrote The Mires while living on the Kāpiti Coast of Aotearoa New Zealand.



The Mires is about the monsters we’ve created and the power we have to stop them. A truly magnificent novel.’ – Shankari Chandran, author of Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens


‘As both a writer and a refugee, this book resonates with my experiences, skilfully addressing the link between refugee lives, colonialism and climate change.’ – Behrouz Boochani, author of No Friend but the Mountains


‘An immersive, unnerving novel about the hatred that can rise up out of the locked, curtained rooms in our neighbourhoods, and the comfort that can be found in another’s home. A story about people and the land they share. The memories stored in the water and peat. I read this book with equal measures of worry and hope.’ – Becky Manawatu, author of Auë


‘The Mires is an enchanting novel: poignant, earnest and lyrical, this story will settle in your bones.’ – Maxine Beneba Clarke, author of The Hate Race


‘The Mires is a work of art. The impacts of colonisation, movement, and climate change cut to the bone in glittering prose and through characters kept close as neighbours. In The Mires, the environment speaks, culture transcends boundaries and the myriad ideas of home are bitterly defended. Only Tina Makereti could hold a reader in such tense tenderness.’ – Laura Jean McKay, author of The Animals in That Country




Pub Date
July 2024




Community. Online extremism. Connection with the natural world.