Kapiti Island
New Zealand


Home of the
Motley Crew




'Te Motu: The Island' is the first of five proposed books.

All chronicle the adventures of The Motley Crew family of animals, who are the heroes, while mankind is the villain. All include mystery and magic along with philosophical and quasi ‘spiritual’ comment and allusion. Meta-physics, other worlds and parallel universes weave through the tales, that incorporate 1st nation peoples folklore, myths and legends.

Broadly the series is concerned with the environment, conservation and mans relation with the natural world.

As C S Lewis says in ‘The Absolution of Man’ ‘Mans conquest of nature turns out, in its moment of consummation to be natures conquest of man.’ This is the very broad theme they engage.

A synopsis of Te Motu sets the scene for what is to follow.

A rock, split* in two in the high Southern Alps, comes into the animal’s possession. There are five battles fought by The Motley Crew with Arannita and her gang of smugglers, who are traders in endangered wildlife… In the first battle we learn a little of the ‘consciousness’ calling the animals to become involved - it is fought by a lone cat Jo. The next engagement involves goats, cats and dogs who travel to the island for # 2 battle, by shamanic journeying means. The gang is subdued but undeterred…  returning to the island for a third time; the smugglers are armed and dangerous. But before they get to their destination, ducks and frogs meet them on the water… and the fun continues. All this time, Gypsy, assisted by assorted Motley Crew members, continues to discover the powers of the hemi rock* along the way Arannita’s men raid The Landslide (the home of the Motley Crew) and steal the other half of the hemi rock. Ginger the senior co-leader addresses the family before they leave to meet ‘the gang,’ in an ambush at The Gap. This is fight  # 4 and involves horses, cattle, pigs, dogs, cats, goats and sheep. Using sickle claws, drive-drive and the lightening bolt, Arannita’s enhanced gang is as it were 'dealt to.'  Gus and Johnny conceive a means to wipe out the gang once and for all. To this end an orchestra is formed, and Gus’s theory is tested in the 5th battle.  Arannita has had enough, and decides to move north to greener pastures.

'Tane Mahuta: The Lord of the Forest', book two, brings further development of themes and characters we are now familiar with… creative means of defeating the gang continue to be used… 

Tane Mahuta‘s action starts in the kauri forests of Northland, New Zealand. Here Howley Anderson’s raiders challenge Arannita’s gang. Tahu, whom we meet briefly in Te Motu, turns out to be a childhood friend of Howley Andersen. When the Motley Crew conjures a holographic prison, it is Tahu who emerges as a Kaumatua (true leader) who helps gang members ‘out of jail’ to a new sense of the sacred. Howley claims ‘traditional harvest rights’ for endangered species, and this leads to a bit of a legal circus. Which in time sees the Motley Crew travelling through England to Switzerland, where by invitation, Tane Mahuta addresses the United Nations in Geneva. The family journey on to Sienna in Italy, and in the Piazzo del Campo, Larry runs in the Palio horse race for the District of … ah, it’s necessary to wait and see. During the victory celebrations a magic carpet unrolls, and the family come home.

'Cupola Tor', book three, brings our adventures to England and the UK.

Here the Motley Crew must counter badger baiting, for which Arannita is the tournament organiser. Bear baiting in Pakistan and vivisection are also dealt with in the Motley Crew’s inimitable and creative manner. The scene for much of the action, is likely to be Dartmoor in Devon***(see footnote please) although we visit warlords on their home ground and touch other locations. Towards the end, a mysterious phone call sends two of the principal characters home… on this return journey they are…  This sets the scene and channels some of the action for book four.

In 'Silver Bullet', book four, the animals romping adventures continue as the Motley Crew pursue the kidnappers across North America.

At times the action goes underground, and it is here that we meet a number of ‘power animal’ guides. These are associated with some well-known Americans – perhaps including Richard Bach, Martin Luther King, M Scott Peck, Thomas King, and Thomas Moore… (Specific persons are yet to be determined, but we’ll be looking for balance of female/male, Canada/USA, native-first nation people and others… (You may like to offer suggestions, supported by a very good reason – if yes, contact us.) Possibly the Motley Crew adopt the ‘bull in a china shop’ approach – as always, they’ll deal in their irrepressible and imaginative way, with factory and feed-lot farming, also - climate change is among the issues tilted at.

The scene for book five, ‘Sarliemoenor’, is China.

In the hunt for the kidnappers, the Motley Crew visit some wonderful places, and learns of this ancient and amazing civilization. Panda Bears, habitat degradation and loss, along with bear bile faming are plot sources. A major character is murdered and this in turn leads to finding family treasure. A Chenrezig Mandala of compassion grows in Tiananman Square and from here the Motley Crew is accorded a heroes farewell from China. Journeying home via Australia, the family are invited by Australian Aborigines to participate in some traditional ceremonies – confirming a means of connecting to other places, times and realities. The Motley Crew’s amazing adventures finish in the high Southern Alps of New Zealand, as our protagonist heroes and heroines ‘go home.’

Most of the animals featuring in these books are real characters I have known through my life, both at home and in farm work.

*** This possibility, like many others in different times, places, dates and etc, are not ‘set in concrete.’ In many ways the settings for action are arbitrary, that is, environmental and conservation issues are universal and effect us all.

Ignorance and lack of awareness leading to cruelty to animals, and to sections of mankind is universal – so it does not matter where the Motley Crew work their magic.