One of the most remarkable books ever written about crime, race, religious voodoo, and the New Zealand way of life and death is the Ngati Dread trilogy by journalist Angus Gillies. He self-published these three very strange and quite epic accounts of a five-year period (1985-1990) when there was a kind of Maori Rasta uprising in Ruatoria. They burned down houses, the police station, woolsheds, churches and even a marae. They kidnapped a cop. They were in a trance of prophecies, visions, and pot. On the morning of July 22, 1985, three local men climbed up a sacred hill….The following extract is from Footsteps of Fire, volume one of Gillies' trilogy, and based on witness statements at the murder trial of Joe Nepe.
By day, Newshub's Angus Gillies is a mild-mannered, smoothie-guzzling news producer. But his alter ego is as the author of violent and hard-boiled crime fiction. His short novels Just Breathe and Boom and Bust reveal Auckland’s underbelly, as does his latest book, Good Cop, Bad Cop.
All week this week at the Spinoff Review of Books we feature writings from and about Ngati Dread - the amazing trilogy of books by Angus Gillies, a journalist who investigated the Rasta reign of terror in Ruatoria between 1985 and 1990. Today: an excerpt which recreates the weird and pitiless killing of a man on a sacred hill.