Cuz by Liz van der Laarse

Posted by 19/09/2022 2 Comment(s) Editor's Pick,

Cuz is a story about family and culture, survival and love. River and Huia are cousins who don't get on terribly well. Huia is all about Māoritanga, while River is seperated from it. They go out on a trawler with Huia's dad, and there is an accident, and the two are left to find their way across the mountains, through the bush, with nothing but Huia's knowledge of native flora and fauna, their wits and determination, and each other, to keep them alive. 

On one level this book is a pretty basic story of survival in the wilderness. Two teenagers doing what they can to stay alive long enough to get home.

But on another it is a loveletter to Māoritanga. To ancestral knowledge. To listening to those who come before us, even when you don't think what they're telling you important. It is about family, and connecting with your roots. 

And on another it is simply a story about the relationship between these two young people - cousins from very different worlds, who find a way to pull together to keep them both alive, and in doing so, find a bond that runs deeper than family. 

While this is a book for young adults, officially, its an engaging tale for anyone with a love of the bush, or who just enjoys a good survival story. River and Huia are both interesting characters who win the reader over - so you end up rooting for them, wanting them to succeed. 

Engaging stuff. Give it a read. 


LIz van der Laarse was born in Palmerston North, and has been a teacher for almost 3 decades. She became a writer originally to provide books for reluctant readers, and because se had always wanted to write books for children. 

2 Comment(s)

04/06/2023, 09:38:29 PM

Love it

04/06/2023, 09:38:30 PM

Love it

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