Set amidst the battlefields of the Great War and the shearing sheds of 1954 Hunua, Brendaniel Weir’s debut novel Tane’s War examines the challenges facing gay soldiers during wartime and the price they pay for peace.
It’s 1953 and Briar is a dreamer living with his father in Pukekohe, who sends him to a training farm to be “turned into a man.” The plan backfires when his arrival awakens feelings in fellow shearer, Aussie.
Tane is the farm foreman and his Maori heritage sets him apart. Briar and Aussie threaten the walls Tane has built around his own past; walls created in the trenches of WW1. Tane is confronted with a choice. He cannot change history but maybe he can help change Briar’s future.
Tane’s War follows two protagonists, a teenager and an older man who must come to terms with their true nature. Both struggle to find friendship and to create family as they search for companionship and, hopefully love. In old Europe and rural Auckland there are penalties for any man who deviates from what is considered decent and normal. Trusting others who might harbour the same longings could either doom the men, or free them. But at what cost freedom?
Tane's War is published by Cloud Ink Press and available online and in bookstores from 10 February 2018.
"Interwoven love stories leapfrogging generations, Tane’s War looks back to the past with insight, empathy and understanding.
It shows the tenderness of the human heart and the pain of exclusion, bigotry, misunderstanding. Brendaniel Weir has written a saga of a hidden past.”
Peter Wells, Author & Filmmaker
Brendaniel Weir was born in Auckland and took part in the New Zealand Homosexual Law Reform marches as a schoolboy. He has written educational television, worked in the film industry and is a lecturer in English language. In 2013, he graduated with a Masters of Creative Writing (Hons.), also winning the post-graduate writing prize.
While training as a pilot, Brendaniel founded FLAG, a support group for LGBT workers in the aviation industry. More recently, he co-founded OutSouth, a peer support network in south Auckland. In 2015, he was approached by Peter Wells to help setup Same-Same-But-Different - New Zealand's only LGBTQI Writers Festival. Now in it's fourth year, this exciting event has grown in size and scope and Brendaniel has continued to play a role (as committee member, session chair or performer). He was honoured to have his first novel launched at the 2108 festival.
Brendaniel spent many years living in a tiny rural community. Tane's War includes many autobiographical elements which reflect that part of his life. The novel explores the intersection of three lives in the 1950s; Aussie and Briar, two young shearers working on a training station in Hunua and Tane, an older man responsible for their training. Tane's past haunts him, particularly his service during WW1. As Aussie and Briar fall in love Tane relives memories he has buried for decades.