Sunday, 13 March 2016

Featherston POW Camp - incident 1943

NZ Writer

David Hill

Enemy Camp

Puffin 2016  $19.99pb 260pp

ISBN 9780 1433 0912 3

Themes:  Cultural differences and misunderstandings/ Featherston NZ/ First person narratives/ Japanese POW’s/ Primary school life 1940’s/ World War II

It is February 22nd 1943 and at the Featherston POW

 camp for Koreans and Japanese a sit-in of prisoners who refused to work is being staged. By the end of the day, nearly 70 prisoners have been killed when an unstoppable riot breaks out.

The events leading to the riot and the day itself are described by 12-year-old Ewan who, with his friends have been visiting the camp secretly and regularly. They are surprised to find the men who have been described to them as evil and cruel look like, well, just  - people. Master Story Teller, David Hill, totally engages the reader’s emotions and thoughts  and what David Hill ‘boy hero’ could ever tell a story without a large lashing of an underlying sense of humour?  

Year 7 up/ Age 11 up


If you drive out of Featherston on State Highway 2 a little north of the township you will come to a small park which was the site of the POW camp. On a stone are carved the words from a 17th-century Japanese haiku:

Behold the summer grass;

all that remains

Of the dreams of warriors.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, how freaky. I had once had flashbacks, (As clairvoyants do) and I saw myself hidding under the blankets in a large room. It looked to be a hospital room where the wounded lay in recovery. So looks like I should read this book! I know there was one escape who ended up in Keneperu Physc ward. Maybe he ended up having an affair with another patient who got pregnant?