Game of Cards and The Beginning of the Tournament – Witi Ihimaera

Game of Cards and The Beginning of the Tournament – Witi Ihimaera
Both stories deal with the following key ideas
the importance of whanau (family) – the narrator returns home at his father’s phone
call for the tournament, and to see his dying Nanny Miro
that playing is as important as winning – hockey and cards – even though they cheat,
they still have great times in both stories
laughter is an important way to cope with grief
dying is an part of living in the Maori world – even though they are grieving they still
gather to be with Nanny Miro
The narrator is the same character in both stories – we do not know his name, but we assume
he is based on experiences the author has had.
Other characters include
1 Game of Cards
Mrs Heta – a comic character with her googly eye – great descritptions of her –
Nanny Miro’s best friend – they cheat all the time – when she dies she’s is buried next to
Nanny. Friendship is an important idea in the story.
The Narrator – Nanny’s favourite mokopuna – she says he only comes home for
money – but she is only teasing him
2 Beginning of the Tournament
Jerry Simmons – stands out as he is Pakeha, tall, red haired and frecklied and has
clean and new uniform!! Easliy fooled by his friend the narrator. Has a car (very important!!)
and can play hockey – but wants to play by the rules.
The Narrator – vain (thinks all the girls love him) persuasive, loyal to his family,
believes in taking part and not just winning
The setting – Waituhi – 1970’s – a small farming community on the East Coast, a few hours
drive from Wellington. Strong whanau ties bind the people living throughout the East Coast.
Hockey fields are paddocks. Everyone lives close by.
Ihimaera’s Style
- the first person narrator
- use of authentic Maori language – relies on us knowing what the words mean
- colloquial (everyday) language – slang and abbreviations
- humour – especially in the descriptions