The Pōrangi Boy

Book Author Shilo Kino
Rights Available World ex NZ

Twelve-year-old Niko lives in Pohe Bay, a small, rural town with a sacred hot spring and a taniwha named Taukere. The government plan to build a prison here and destroy the home of the taniwha has divided the community. Some are against it, but others see it as an opportunity. Niko is worried about the land and Taukere, but who will listen to him? He’s an ordinary boy who’s laughed at, bullied, and called pōrangi, crazy, for believing in the taniwha. But it’s Niko who has to convince the community that Taukere is real, unite whānau in protest against the prison and stand up to the bullies.

About the Author
Shilo Kino (Ngā Puhi, Tainui) is a journalist who works for Marae. She has had her work published in the New Zealand Herald, The Spinoff, The Pantograph Punch, Stuff and Huia Short Stories collections and was a participant in the 2018 Te Papa Tupu writing programme. Shilo is fluent in Mandarin, has lived in Hong Kong and is a member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network of young leaders strengthening ties with Asia.


Huia Publishers


138 mm x 210 mm



Junior Fiction

Age range
8-14 years

Publication Date
October 2020

Rights Available:
World ex NZ

Rights Agents:


Eboni Waitere

Contact Huia Publishers about this book

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Shilo Kino has crafted, through hard edges and deftness of touch, a story that will endure. Niko’s intensely personal journey is woven through with threads of issues that permeate the lives of young people in Aotearoa – environmental damage, neocolonialism, bullying, poverty – but never slips into didacticism or preachiness. Where the story shines the brightest is in Shilo Kino’s uncontestable genius for crafting believable, authentic voices that are thoroughly rooted in this place, these times. You feel the shapes of the words in your mouth, hear the resonance they leave in your ears – and the resonance of these words and this book is clear and long-lasting.

Judges comments, NZCYA 2021

I have read a lot of astonishing children’s books this year, but Shilo Kino’s debut novel The Pōrangi Boy has affected me like no other. I just love it. It is my children’s book of 2020. I love it because it makes me feel and it makes me think, and it foregrounds Māori characters and issues, and it is prismatic with life and wisdom.

Paula Green, Poetry Box

The book feels real and raw, especially because it is all written through the eyes of children. Their experiences form the lens through which Kino writes. I feel that people can relate to this story because it will reflect pieces of their own.

Taylor Shaw, 14, Tai Wananga, Hooked on Books