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The Dark Cracks of Kemang

“That old childhood saying ‘pick what you want from the tree of life’ simply not working anymore? Becoming a foreigner in Indonesia might be as good a stab at something new and rewarding, as anything…”

Armed with a teaching contract, some poems, and a guitar-playing buddy, Roberts discovers a potentially life-changing experience in 2013. And so the Bajaj Boys make themselves at home.

Indonesia is revealed as a challenging but welcoming land of ‘instant millionaires’, ‘beautiful rubbish’, abundant romance, powerful religion, and unnerving history.

Nasi goreng, alcohol, cigarettes, bajajs, motorbikes, a gentlemen’s club, poetry gigs, wild animals, and electrical storms weave together, as the dark cracks of Kemang open.

ISBN 9781922830050 (PB, 354pp);
152mm x 229mm
AUD $30 USD $24 CAD $28 NZD $33 GBP £18 EUR €20
ISBN 9781922830067 (eBook) AUD $15 USD $10 CAD $12 NZD $16 GBP £9 EUR €10


Watch the Book Trailer



A chronicle of interactions with expats and locals, interspersed with impressions of Indonesia, Roberts excels in short, sharp, observational verse. Ripe stuff indeed. You might find yourself simultaneously amused and repulsed. If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall at gatherings of expats, this is your chance.

– Kenneth Yeung, Indonesia Expat

In 2013, poet Jeremy Roberts did something few of us have the guts to do: he looked at his Auckland life, decided he’d supported his musician daughter on enough gigs, and dared himself to squeeze in some adventure in the third quarter of his life.

Age 53, Roberts agreed to spend a year teaching at NZ International School in Jakarta, a city of 10 million in a nation of 271 million. The move was pretty ballsy. In fact, The Dark Cracks of Kemang, published nearly ten years after his adventure began, is entirely a meditation about finding the beautiful exhilaration of daring oneself to live more adventurously. Why’d he do it, and why’d he write the memoir? Because Roberts is obsessed with rock ‘n roll. It’s his religion.

Roberts is today settled in Napier, running Napier Live Poets, various page projects, and regularly interviewing poets on Radio Hawke’s Bay. To stand up in the literary landscape, though, required a Hero’s Journey. Roberts found that to get the guts and the experience to become a poetry leader instead of a poetry follower required going all the way to a strange country, thrusting himself upon unfamiliar stages in an unfamiliar culture for countless gigs, and trusting a colourful Manchester socialist to be his on-stage companion, playing guitar while Roberts waxed poetry.

The name of the poetry duo Roberts created in Jakarta was The Bajaj Boys – named for the three wheeled tuk tuk taxis which thousands of expatriate international teachers like Roberts relied upon to get around a city so humid that Roberts’ leather jacket turned mouldy in the cupboard.

In the spirit of wild writers like Hunter S. Thompson, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith and Sam Hunt – all of whom get discussed in the book (remember, rock is Roberts’ religion), The Dark Cracks of Kemang flits between English and Bahasa Indonesia and back again.

Just a couple of pages in, we get a description of the bum-washing hand-held bidet device known as ‘semprotan air’; then again, the book covers Indonesian food, language, clothing, customs, corruption, religion, attitudes – as well as taking an objective look at the attitudes of Roberts’ peer Western teachers, for better and worse (one teacher mourns the vibrators which Customs confiscated at the airport).

Each page is wide-eyed with fascination at the colourful country of 17,000 islands. You’ll find yourself engrossed in a first person personal poem about Indonesian culture before the camera lens zooms out and discusses what life is like for an expatriate classroom teacher, before Roberts veers back to his student days at Auckland Uni, to discussions of tropical storms, monkeys, and a tonne of cultural discussion told without any pejorative Western condescension. It’s pure fascination – Roberts is as impressed or unimpressed with Jakarta as he is Auckland, Napier or California (where – at the same time as Roberts is finding his inner rockstar, his famous daughter Eden Iris is doing the same in Los Angeles).

Want a book which takes you on a three-wheel motorised rikshaw tour through a huge segment of the world’s population whom Kiwis hardly ever interact with? And would you like your book to discuss Ozzy, The Stooges, the Smiths, sweaty palms, c-dizzle, sex, death, and explain the Bahasa Indonesian word for ‘boring’ all on page 138?

Read The Dark Cracks of Kemang and think about doing something exciting with your life, even if you’re 53 like Roberts. Write about it in steamy, sensual poetry. Record it and publish it on Soundcloud and YouTube – just like Jeremy Roberts has done.

Michael Botur, Award-winning New Zealand author

This collection of saucy tales and its contributing cast of misfits pulls back the curtain on the expat dream. A fascinating odyssey that titillated both the adventurous and depraved parts of me. I loved every second of it.

– Darren Shrek, JGC Hall of Fame


Adventures at Humminghive: Here We Are!

This fun-filled musical story has been developed for children aged 2-6 years to follow the adventures of the community who live and thrive in Humminghive. Young and old have a “voice” that rejoices in the peacefulness, courtesy and equality that bring tranquillity and harmony. Differences between the various animal and human inhabitants are resolved with confidence, and high self-esteem is fostered between all those who live in Humminghive as one successful society.

The musically interactive Lifeskills Program that is the source of this audiobook called ‘tunias the musical story of the Petunia Family was created for children aged 2-6. The many episodes include singing, musical role play, musical activities and storytelling focusing on turn taking, co-operation, mutual respect, social inclusion, social awareness and self belief. The children are empowered with self-confidence and high self-esteem is fostered.

ISBN 9781922332318 (Audiobook, 31 minutes, 28 seconds playing time); AUD $13 USD $8 NZD $14 GBP £6 EUR €7


I found the music lively, engaging and mostly ‘catchy’. I enjoyed the rhyming story lines. The story provides opportunities for discussion about different social behaviours associated with friendships – inclusiveness, cooperation, helping others, expressing feelings, negotiation, misunderstandings, and more. These scenarios can be played separately or in sequence for children to discuss. The inclusion of meditation and relaxation music provides a gentle way to end the session and could be used independently of the story.

– Kay Margetts, University of Melbourne


Animal Doctor, Animal Doctor — a picture book

Heard of a hippo with a sore hip? Or a giraffe with a crick in the neck? Or a monkey with nose-pinching halitosis? Who can come to their rescue? The Animal Doctor, of course!

This book’s rollicking verse and colourful illustrations are guaranteed to delight kids everywhere.

But how will even an Animal Doctor cure a lion with laryngitis? Find out in the crazy, topsy-turvy pages of Animal Doctor, Animal Doctor.

To get into the swing of things, have a listen to the Animal Doctor song.

ISBN 9781922332097 (HB, 32pp);
216mm x 216mm
AUD $26 USD $18 NZD $28 GBP £12 EUR €14
ISBN 9781922332103 (eBook) AUD $13 USD $9 NZD $15 GBP £6 EUR €7


A clever and cute book that fosters a love of nature and empathy with animals and their feelings. It shows just how close animals are to ourselves in that they also have health problems and have things that get sore and need fixing! I think people underestimate the skill and amazing things that veterinarians do and this book really shows just how clever at problem solving vets have to be. And perhaps more correctly, we vets should be called animal doctors! I particularly enjoyed the giraffe with the sore neck and the lion with laryngitis. And the song is definitely the best part of all.

– Dr Kate Adams, Bondi Vet


Rhythm, Rhyme & Song

Rhythm, Rhyme & Song is an album of folksongs and originals from Canada and beyond enjoyed by children, as well as their parents and teachers.

Album Notes
“Great Big Star”, “Fais Do Do”, “Canadian Lullaby”, “Little Red Bird of the Lonely Moor”
Lullabies are wonderful on so many different levels (not least of which is helping your child fall asleep). Many have simple tunes that your child will be able to sing. If you can hold your child while you sing they can feel the vibration of your singing. If you rock back and forth while you sing they will feel the beat. If you pat their back while you rock they will feel the divisions in the beat (it’s a good musical exercise for you too!).

“Shoo Fly”, “Little Brass Wagon”, “Nelly Go ‘Cross the Ocean”, “The Ponies Are Walking”
Folk dances and circle songs teach basic concepts of rhythm, repetition, sequencing, patterning, predictability, anticipation, musical cues, auditory discrimination, and counting. All that and they’re great for kinaesthetic learners and kids with energy to burn (which I think describes the vast majority of children!!)

A counting song which includes fine and gross motor movement as well as listening to be able to clap on the “pop” parts.

“Roll the Ball”
Song games are wonderful to engage children in music. You don’t have to use a ball specific song. Try singing a favourite at home while bouncing. Stop singing and bouncing in the middle. Often your child will start bouncing on their own to get you to continue the song. Or for babies in jolly jumpers, exersaucers etc., sing along while they bounce. Stop singing when they stop bouncing. Continue singing when they start bouncing again. Most likely your child will realize they are controlling the song and get quite a bit of enjoyment out of “conducting” you. You can also vary the speed of your singing to coincide with the speed of their bouncing.

“Lightly Row”
Another simple folksong – this one is used in most instrument beginner books and is helpful to know for that reason alone. It is also a great tune for rocking or rowing along on the beat.

“Come A’ Look A’ See”
Finger rhymes and songs are a really great fine motor activity which is so important for playing any musical instrument. If your child is too young to tap on their own fingers, you can do it for them. Later you can encourage them to tap their own/your fingers or attempt to wiggle individual fingers.

“On My Foot There Is A Flea”
Besides just being a fun song, this song is great for learning melodic movement. We travel up/down the major scale as the flea moves up/down our bodies.

“Wind the Bobbin Up”
Listening and feeling the beat are huge parts of making music, and this little song’s actions help little ones experience making a musical entrance (on the claps).

A premium recording, performed by Shoshanna Godber, with Celtic harp, electronic piano and guitar accompaniments.


Bubbles [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Canadian Lullaby [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Clap Your Hands Little Sally [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Come A’ Look A’ See [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Fais Do Do [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Great Big Star [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Lightly Row [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Little Brass Wagon [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Little Red Bird of the Lonely Moor [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Nelly Go Cross the Ocean [audio mp3=""][/audio]

On My Foot There Is a Flea [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Roll the Ball [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Shoo Fly [audio mp3=""][/audio]

The Ponies Are Walking [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Wind the Bobbin Up [audio mp3=""][/audio]

ISBN 9781925231908 (WAV or mp3, 38 minutes playing time); AUD $13 USD $10 NZD $15 GBP £8 EUR €9


“Wonderfully lovely and fun! The harmonies and harp provide a perfection of sound both stimulating and soothing. ”

– Kathy Baxter, USA