Fair Borders?

BWB Texts

Book 58
Bridget Williams Books
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‘Our migration policy impacts on New Zealand citizens, on recent immigrants and on people who are never permitted to set foot on this land. It creates prosperity for some and hardship for others.’

Debates over immigration are heating up – with grave political consequences. Fair Borders draws together a broad set of writers to discuss whether New Zealand’s immigration policy offers a 'fair go’ to those just arriving, and to those who arrived a long time ago. This edited collection includes new and diverse perspectives that go beyond the boundaries of popular debate, in which migrants are too often treated as numbers, not people.


Andrew Chen is a PhD candidate in Computer Systems Engineering at the Univeristy of Auckland.

Francis Collins is a senior lecturer in Geography and Rutherford Discovery Fellow at the University of Auckland.

David Hall is a Senior Researcher at The Policy Observatory AUT.

Nina Hall is a lecturer at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

Hautahi Kingi is an economist based in Washington, DC.

Tahu Kukutai is Professor of Demography at the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis.

Evelyn Marsters is deputy editor at Impolitikal.

Kate McMillan is a senior lecturer in Politics at Victoria Univeristy of Wellington.

Arama Rata is a Research Officer at the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis.

Murdoch Stephens is a lecturer at Massey Univeristy in Wellington.

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About the author

David Hall is a writer, editor and policy researcher based in Auckland. He has written for various publications, including the New Zealand Listener, Pantograph Punch, The Journal for Urgent Writing, and Auckland Art Gallery's Reading Room Journal. His recent policy work focused on tree planting as a mitigation strategy for climate change. He has a D.Phil in Politics from the University of Oxford and currently holds the role of Senior Researcher at The Policy Observatory, AUT.
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Additional Information

Bridget Williams Books
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Published on
Jun 12, 2017
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Political Science / World / Australian & Oceanian
Social Science / Emigration & Immigration
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Jim Perkins mother dies of cancer when hes fifteen, leaving him and his father and big brother not just grieving but at a loss as to how to go on; she was central to the family, and now theyre paralyzed. But while Jim struggles to get up the energy to go back to school, and Dad begins secretly hitting the bottle, brother Frank wrestles with another problem, one that soon overshadows even Moms death: the mysterious and violent history of Woodsen Lake.

Named for a pioneer trapper, the lake has been in Momsfamily for a hundred years, a source of pride but also of obligation, as each generation is sworn to keeping it at all costs. When Dad sells it to pay for Moms futile cancer treatments, she is furious and, from her deathbed, makes her oldest son, Frank, promise to get it back. Against his will, he agrees but how? The businessman its sold to, Mr. Bunsen, plans to develop it, to line its ancient shores with luxury apartments and condominiums. He has no appreciation for the lakes history or its importance to Jims family, only its profit potential.

He has a daughter, though, a wild pretty girl named Gina, and Frank sets out to woo her in hopes the old man will make the lake a wedding gift to them. When that doesnt work, he decides the only way he can get it is if Gina inherits it. Of course, thats not possible while her father is alive. In his desperate state of mind, haunted by his dying mothers pleas, Frank hatches a plan: standing on one side of the lake, aiming across at the Bunsens backyard, hell shoot Mr. Bunsen as he sits in his lawn chair reading the Saturday morning newspaper. He tells only one other person what hes going to do: his little brother. Not sure whether to believe it or not, and afraid to tell anybody in any case, Jim finds himself the only one with a chance of stopping the murder.

But while hes trying to keep this awful secret, and also keepit from coming true, Jim is finding out more than he ever wanted to know about the lake, mainly from Grandma, who is obligated to pass the story on to someone in the next generation. In fact, she passeson more than just information and lore: she also hints at her growingsuspicions that the familys relationship to the lake may not be asclean and pure and blissful as it seems. She wants to tell Jim what shes thinking, but he doesnt want to hear it.

At the same time, though, Jim hears about the lake from another source: the daughter of the only Indian man in town, bothdescendants of the tribe that was chased away after a fire that burnedup Abe Woodsen in his cabin those many years ago. She has heard a story from her own father, who heard it from his: she blames Jims family for her peoples plight and hints that Abe Woodsen wasntkilled by Indians after all. At first Jim is annoyed, even angry: he doesnt want to know anything about that damned stupid lake that has caused his family so much heartache. Gradually, though, he begins to think that the answer to stopping Frank may lie infinding out the truth about how his family came to own Woodsen Lake and why its such an obsession with them. What he learns is what gives this novel its name.

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