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Kiwis at War

The Kiwis at War series, by Scholastic New Zealand.

A teen historical fiction series, with five New Zealand writers, about the Great War.

1914: Ride to War, by Susan Brocker - published 2014

1915: Wounds of War, by Di Menefy - published 2015

1916: Dig for Victory, by David Hair - published 2016 [Finalist, Best YA Novel, 2017 NZ Children's Book Awards]

1917: Machines of War, by Brian Falkner - published 2017

1918: Broken Poppies, by Des Hunt - published 2018

Dig for Victory is a novel about the New Zealand (Maori) Pioneer Battalion, and their activities during 1916, the year in which the battalion was formed and then deployed first at Armentieres, and then at the Somme. It is a tale of war, the brotherhood of soldiers, and of two cultures finding each other on the far side of the world.

"As we Otago lads have only enough men for two squadrons, the General has decided that we are to be merged with the Maori contingents to form a new battalion. We will be called ‘Pioneers’, and will do behind-the-lines work: building barracks, railroads, roads and trenches. As you can imagine, Father, we’re not happy – we want to fight, not dig holes.”

When Leith McArran signed up to fight in a war half a world away, little did he know that he and his fellow Dunedin Scots would end up shovelling dirt with Maori lads from home, nor that he’d become best mates with a young orphan named Tamati Baines, who is haunted by nightmares of steel serpents and blood-red butterflies – visions that might save them from a secret enemy - or get them both killed.


It was announced on 7th June that "1916: Dig For Victory" will be a finalist in the Young Adult section of the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The winners will be announced 14th August 2017. The complete list of finalists can be found here.