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anielle Davis

English Teacher, Motueka High School

Strong sense of Witere's character and personality

T his wee novel is an absolute page turner. As I learned about the cursed life of Witere Peepe, I felt compelled to finish the book because I wanted so desperately to find out how this man’s life turned out. It’s easy to expect that such a tortured soul would end up leading a violent life of crime, as this was all Witere had ever known. His story is an example of nature verses nurture and is truly inspiring. Witere’s true nature is that of a gentle, loving soul and against all manner of mistreatment from his own relatives, he is eventually able to lead a peaceful life and raise a family of his own, completely free of the “monsters” from his haunted past. This novel is a valuable piece of New Zealand literature as it gives the reader a shocking, eye opening insight into New Zealand’s dark culture of family violence and abuse. It doesn’t paint a picture we can be proud of, but rather highlights serious issues that still greatly affect many families in New Zealand, in particular low socio-economic families. Whilst shedding light on these issues can feel uncomfortable to read about, it is as important as other novels such as Alan Duff’s, “Once Were Warriors”, in painting an accurate picture, set in reality, of what goes on behind closed doors. It is inspiring to read about one man’s journey of survival through a horrific childhood. The fact the Witere turns his life into a positive one, and now chooses to actively help those who suffer, as he did, to find their own light and peace, is utterly commendable. I take my metaphorical hat off to him. This man deserves an award. As for the author of this book, Ludovic C. M. Romany, I applaud him for capturing this unique soul’s story. I felt a strong sense of Witere’s character and personality bleeding through the pages of the book. It felt as real as sitting down and listening to Witere tell the story himself.

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endy Everingham

Lyttelton Mentor, Lyttelton TimeBank, Lyttelton Rec Centre, And much more

Wi Peepe is really inspirational

This newly written book is authored by Ludovic Romany and his subject Wi Peepe are both locals of whom I have gotten to know very well over the years living in this town. I think this book whilst heart wrenching is a must read for us all. On one level it’s a wakeup call to those of us who lead very comfortable lives. There are people in extreme hardship very close by. On another level it is a call for change to stop this violence and abuse but on a brighter note it’s the celebration of a man who has overcome such adversity and has found a home and a place in Lyttelton. Wi Peepe is really inspirational. He has climbed out of this abyss with the help of his family and his community. Working for Project Lyttelton as part of the Farmers Market Team and the Garage Sale Wi has gained meaningful employment and friends. Volunteering at the Lyttelton Information Centre also added another level of meaning and confidence in his journey forward. “Most of us would consider the gift of innocence to be the birthright of every baby brought into the world. Unfortunately within New Zealand, a perpetuating cycle of violence and poverty can often deny this birthright. Witere “Wi” Peepe is one of those who never received his “gift of innocence”. In this story, Wi recalls being subjected to the most monstrous crimes at the hands of his parents, from as young as two years of age. They extended to him the same violence and wrongful behaviour they themselves had experienced during their lives. All the pieces were in place to lead Wi down a similar path, but this account of his difficult journey tells how it was possible for him to come through the dark shadows and into the light. This story is one that needs to be told. Bringing these issues into the open is a vital step in breaking the cycle of violence that is experienced by many in our communities”. You can purchase Innocence at Leslie’s Bookshop. There will be a book launch very shortly.

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eremy Baker

Doctor, Settlers Health Centre

Innocence by Ludovic Romany

This is a story that needs to be heard; it gives great cause to pause and reflect on the likely nature and levels of abuse hidden in our midst. The tale of tragedy that Ludovic Romany relates in Innocence is not commonly heard in the depths that he describes; a tale of how easy it is for bullies and monsters to prey on the vulnerable. The story challenges us to consider that hurt, brutality and shame are likely more common than we realize, sitting beneath our country’s surface of contentment and Kiwi-ness. Our own innocence is shattered; the more simple the story-telling the greater the impact on the senses. But the story also promises redemption: Wit-Tere prays to a God who eventually answers and changes his bleakness into hope.