Viola Vincent Reporting – Troubled Water (First Chapter)

Fierce gusts jostled the car… a wave reared over the seawall and smashed against Caitlin’s window.

A tropical cyclone is just one of the challenges Caitlin faces on her summer holiday.

Her story about a polluted river causes a storm of another kind that stirs up community feelings that run as deep as the river itself.

The Viola Vincent Reporting series by Kapiti Coast author Anne Kenna features young reporter Caitlin Nove who writes under the pseudonym Viola Vincent, the original Viola Vincent being Caitlin’s great aunt, an intrepid reporter in her day.

Troubled Water follows Caitlin’s investigation into a polluted swimming hole in the beach settlement where she is holidaying with her granddad.

Along the way she meets Anahera, a young Māori woman, who believes local farms are responsible and says her iwi is fed up trying to get the council to do something about it.

Caitlin sees the opportunity for a story but her attempt to expose the issue backfires, stirring up deep feelings in the community.

Speaking about Troubled Water, Anna Kenna, a former television journalist turned author, says: “This is a story about two young women with very different perspectives who share a common goal to save a dying river. The quest tests their friendship and ultimately requires Caitlin, to open her mind and to embrace a different world view.”

Anna says writing the book enabled her to learn more about mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and how embracing the concept of kaitiakitanga or guardianship of water is essential to efforts to restore New Zealand’s degrading rivers and streams.

“At a time when everyone is so desperate to ‘save the planet’, the concept of guardianship of natural resources and the value of indigenous knowledge has never been more relevant.”

The story unfolds in a tense and thrilling narrative that depicts a coastal settlement under threat from increasingly violent storms and rising seas and the anxiety that creates for its residents.

“This story draws attention to some of the very real environmental challenges facing our nation but I hope it also shows young people that there is much they can do individually and collectively to rewrite the script of their future.”

Viola Vincent Reporting Troubled Water