Book Author Becky Manawatu
Rights Available Translation rights available excl. France, Bulgaria, Turkey, Uruguay and Argentina

Taukiri was born into sorrow. Auē can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father’s. It spills out of the gang violence that killed his father and sent his mother into hiding, and the shame he feels about abandoning his eight-year-old brother to a violent home. But Ārama is braver than he looks, and with his friend Beth and her dog, he feels like he might be strong enough to turn back the tide of sorrow. As long as there’s aroha to give and stories to tell and a good supply of plasters.

Here is a novel that is both raw and sublime, a compelling new voice in New Zealand fiction. Haere mai, Becky Manawatu.

Auē means howl or cry or lament in Māori, aroha means love, and plasters is the Kiwi word for bandaids, which Ari puts on himself to deal with the pain inside. Auē is told through four narrators whose stories weave together out of the past and into the present: the ghost of Taukiri’s mother; Taukiri; Ārama or Ari; Taukiri’s mother, Jade, and his murdered father, Toko, until there is some sort reconciliation between those that are left.

Here is a novel that is about personal pain rooted in the past that has grown from a wider story that is called colonialism and its devastating impact on the Indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand. It has captured the imagination of New Zealanders in the way Once Were Warriors and The Bone People did before.

Winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction 2020
Winner of the MitoQ Best First Book Award for Fiction 2020
Winner Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel 2020.
Longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award.
Auē has been on the NZ fiction bestsellers list for two years.

About the Author
Becky Manawatu (Ngāi Tahu) was born in Nelson, raised in Waimangaroa on the West Coast, and then moved to live in Germany and Italy, where her husband was playing rugby and where she wrote the first drafts of her novel. She returned to the West Coast with her family and works full-time as a writer. Auē is her first novel and she is writing the sequel.


Mākaro Press

420pp (Trade PB 328pp)

B format (also trade paperback)



Contemporary Fiction

Age range

Publication Date
September 2019

Rights Available:
Translation rights available excl. France, Bulgaria, Turkey, Uruguay and Argentina

Rights Sold:
World English: Scribe, Australia; translation rights: Au Vents des Îsles, France; Aviana, Bulgaria; New Human Publishers, Turkey; Tajante, Uruguay and Argentina.

Rights Agents:


Nadine Rubin Nathan of High Spot Literary

Contact Mākaro Press about this book

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There is something so assured and flawless in the delivery of the writing voice that is almost like acid on the skin.

Tara June Winch, co-judge of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction 2020

The best book of 2019 – and it really is immense, a deep and powerful work, maybe even the most successfully achieved portrayal of underclass New Zealand life since Once Were Warriors

Steve Braunias, Newsroom

This is the kind of social realist New Zealand fiction I’m thrilled to see being published in New Zealand. I finished reading it at 2.30am with my heart thumping in my chest as I accelerated through the last 100 pages towards the end. I’ll never forget that feeling. And so powerful is this book that I spent the next few days with a kind of book hangover. This is a real punch-in-the-guts kind of novel but while it deals with themes of domestic violence, gang culture, grief and fractured families and, is at times, a heartbreaking read; it is also a beautifully pitched and nuanced hopeful story about the power of love, friendship and family … I think everybody should read Auē. It’s a book that people will still be talking about in decades to come.

Kiran Dass, 95bFM

In the meantime, while we await the announcement, might I direct you to Auē, the first novel by Westport journalist Becky Manawatu. It hasn’t had a lot of attention yet, certainly no prizes, but holy shit, it should … It reminds me of The Bone People and of Once Were Warriors. The writing has a wild, intuitive sort of magic.

Catherine Woulfe, The Spinoff