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Nakaa's Awakening: Land of Matang (Book One)
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, phosphate was discovered on a remote Pacific Island called Ocean Island (now known as Banaba). This book tells the story of the author’s family who travelled to Banaba from Australia in 1900. The father, John Williams, supervised the extraction of the phosphate.
Ella, his wife, was unprepared for what she would find on Banaba but, after her initial shock arriving on an island of primitive savages, she grew to love the island and its people and to care deeply about their plight as the phosphate mining gradually destroyed their beautiful home.
While the father was supervising the hundreds of indentured workers brought to the island, Ella and their two year old daughter, Gwennie, were getting to know the Banaban people and learning about their culture and beliefs. Their native houseboy, Tetabo, taught Gwennie about his people’s magic and mysteries, and the connection to the spirits of their ancestors they revere. John’s increasing concerns over his daughter who is behaving more like a native as she became closer to Tetabo and the other islanders.
Despite his loyalty to the mining company, John gradually came to respect the Banabans and to understand their plight. The discontent and riots of the imported mine workers provided a constant challenge, the anxiety of the Banabans about the mining worried him while the changes to his family perturbed him.
This moving story deals with conflicting loyalties, cultural differences and a family adjusting to a whole new environment and society while destructive mining practices threaten the near-extinction of the Banaban race.
The survival of the Banaban people into the twenty-first century is a triumph of human spirit over industrial might. They continue to believe that good will overcome evil as they struggle to survive the wrath of the evil spirit Nakaa and his Awakening.
“Yet, though Matang was lost forever, a cherished tradition said that the ancestor gods had promised to return to their children one day, wherever they might be…”
Stacey M. King - More Information
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‘NAKAA’S AWAKENING – Land of Matang’ is a fascinating read. Stacey King has captured
the essence of the life of the Banabans living and working with the ex patriot people on Ocean Island, Fiji. I was riveted all the way through and did not want the book to end. I’m so pleased there are sequels coming. I want to know what happens to all the characters as the story was made especially interesting as many are Stacey’s relatives. Well researched and passionately written obviously showing the authors sensitive and deep understanding of the life lived at the time.. I learned so much about the challenges of phosphate mining and the impact on the locals.Beautifully told and as a sailor myself, as well as having lived in a remote community in Papua New Guinea I could identify with the life. Stacey has indeed left an enduring legacy to the Banaban people.
This is a story that will appeal to everyone. It has it all. History, romance, drama, and an exotic location. Escapism at its best and made even more appealing in that it is based on a true story. I might just have to read it again while I wait for the sequel.
Linda Frylink Anderson
Sailing in My Sarong / Salvage in My Sarong
Mooloolba. Qld Australia
Historical fiction at its best!
I have the good fortune to know Stacey King and to have visited Banaba with her, so I know just how passionate she is about all things Banaban and about her family history, which is so closely associated with the island.
In this - the first of a four-novel series - she relates the true story of her great-grandparents' life on Banaba as members of the phosphate mining community. It runs from the early 1900s to the interwar years and shows the personal impact of the mining on all the people concerned, including her family members and the Banabans who lived alongside them as their land was ravaged.
The story is by turns sad and uplifting, a complex array of emotions in response to the natural beauty of Banaba and the harsh realities of its exploitation. Stacey spares us nothing, neither condemning nor justifying. The story left me with so many images and ideas. I look forward to the next volume in the series.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the general subject area the Pacific islands, whether or not they know anything about Banaba. It is also an enchanting historical romance."
Jeremy Cooper, Freelance Media Producer, UK.
Naaka's Awakening is the warm-hearted story of Ella Williams and her life on Ocean Island (now Banaba) in the early 20th Century. While her husband oversees the phosphate mining enterprise that brought the family to the island, Ella learns to love the rich culture of the island. Her loyalties are torn when she sees the damage the company is doing to the Banabans' way of life.
I highly recommend this story to anyone interested in the impact of European activities in the Pacific, and to anyone who loves to read of new and exotic places. Inspired by true events, and real people, this story held my attention and sent me off on a virtual visit via Google Earth.
Sally Odgers (Author | Editor) Tasmania, Australia
Stacey King has created a fascinating story about her great-grandparents and their life on Banaba Island in the early 1900s. The sad saga of the rape of the island and the usurpation of the rights of the Banabans by Australian and British phosphate miners is told through the eyes of the Williams family.
Ella and John Williams shared a unique experience of adjusting to life on a tropical island, learning to respect and understand the original owners and bringing up their daughters far from their Australian home. Due to their strong and loving relationship they were able to deal with the challenges that faced them with great courage. Their two daughters, Gwennie and Uma, grew up on Banaba and became unusual and independent women as a result of their experience.
The author has brought to life the Banaban people they met and came to love. The tale of the beliefs and traditions of the Banabans and the photos throughout the book help to make the story even more vivid.
I am looking forward to the next book in this intriguing series.
Virginia Falealili, Gold Coast, Australia, January 2020
I thought your book was a very effective mix of historical facts and a well written narrative to bring the history alive. It kept me wanting to keep reading to find out what happens to each of the characters and their individual character arcs. The Banaban words throughout assisted in placing you in the time and presence of the island, together with the rich description of the environment. I felt I was right there on the island participating in the lives of the characters. I loved also how you proffered the different perspectives of each character and their Point of View of their dynamic environment.
Fiona Macrae Gold Coast 2020