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Cross Tides Written Assignments

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Cross Tides Literary Studies

           You are expected to do

         one from 1 – 12,

         one from 13 – 17 and

         One from 18 – 29.

         In groups you will carry out one research project which will be presented in the form of a radio program.


Try to achieve a general coverage of different aspects of the book i.e. don’t just concentrate on Bel’s character.



1.       Write a detailed description of the setting and explain its importance to the novel.

2.     Write a character description of Bel in Cross Tides, including the problems she faces, how she changes, and the important relationships in which she is involved.

3.     How much fact and how much fiction within the novel. Discuss with examples from the book and your own research.

4.     Compare and contrast Bel’s dilemma with Lizzie’s experiences.  Are they in fact comparable at all?

5.     Do you believe that physical places can carry emotional layers from the past? Describe how this occurs in Cross Tides

6.     Does Cross Tides have one or two heroines, in your view?

7.     Do symbolic acts of atonement for wrongs in the past carry any weight, in your opinion? Discuss with examples

8.     The colonial mentality still informs all Maori and Pakeha relations in New Zealand .Argue for or against this statement in relation to your reading of Cross Tides.

9.     The wounds of history lead to the sickness of the present. Discuss how this might be true to the world of Cross Tides.

10.  Write an essay on the use of the natural and the supernatural in Cross Tides.

11.   Discuss how the social status of young women has changed from the nineteenth century to the present moment, as portrayed in Cross Tides.

12.  Historical fiction is by its very nature unethical, as it distorts the known facts. Discuss in relation to Cross Tides.



13.  Turn one or two scenes from the novel into a performance piece either for video or for stage.

14.  Write a dramatic monologue from the point of view of one of the characters in the novel, and perform this for the class or in front of your teacher.



15.   In your preferred medium, create a two-piece art work that you feel captures the overriding mood of (a) the historical narrative (b) the contemporary narrative.

16.  Cross Tides is a sell-out: the publisher has to reprint. Design a new cover for the novel.

17.   Design a poster for the movie version of the novel.



18.  • Write the lyrics for the ballad (‘Lilies White and Roses Red’) that Lizzie hums and that Bel hears early on in the novel.

19.  • Write a contemporary pop lyric based on one of the relationships in the novel.

20.• Write a sermon given by Matthew as he preaches to a new community.

21.  • Write a letter from Bel to Daniel telling how she feels about her experiences once she has left the Marlborough Sounds.

22.• Write a poem in the voice of a spirit trapped into haunting the present.

23.• Write a two-page narrative about a boat journey (contemporary or historical).

24.• Re-read the description of the setting on pages 129–130.Using your own     similes, metaphors, assonance, and sensory images, write a couple of paragraphs that evoke one of your favorite settings.

25.Write diary entries for Bel from 4 significant times in the book. OR

26.Write 4 postcards from Bel to her mother in Auckland


27.Write 4 emails sent from Bel to her best friend in Auckland.

28.Write Lizzie’s letters sent to her parents in Sydney describing her new married life, dated 1829/1830.

29.Obituaries/ Writing on the Graves of Lizzie and Matthew (Design the headstone and message and the obituary in the newspaper of the day).



30.• Find out more about the history of whaling settlements in nineteenth-century New Zealand.

31.  • Find out more about the nature of missionary stations in the early white settler colonization of New Zealand.

32.• Find out about the contemporary whaling industry. What ecological and political issues does this industry raise now?

33.• Find out more about Te Rauparaha and his influence on the early history of New Zealand.

34.• Find out about the history of Maori and Pakeha settlement in the Wellington region.

35.• Find out more about the twentieth century history of land rights protests in New Zealand.


Students will establish a framework for inquiry. Collect and record information from a range of primary and secondary sources;

Process information, using appropriate conventions and establishing the relevance of information

Make a range of valid generalisations supported by evidence

Communicate findings clearly and concisely, using conventions appropriate for a taped radio broadcast for the Correspondence School as the intended audience.



Divide into affirmative and positive teams and debate the following topics:

  1. History is old bones.
  2. Biculturalism is a new racism.
  3. Love is anarchic.


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