The Calm Beyond

The Calm Beyond

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A clash of cultures in colonial Aotearoa/New Zealand.
A tale of values, a clash of cultures, with life-or-death consequences.
In 1840’s Aotearoa/New Zealand, this is the story of two yearnings: a Pākehā’s hunger for land and a Māori chief’s need to protect both a birth right and what he has taken from others. It is the story of two laws: British law and mana whenua, Māori authority and ownership of their land. At the centre of it all, the Wairau Plains, acquired by an itinerant ship’s captain in a dubious deal from the Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha.
The relationship between Te Rauparaha, a person both revered and loathed, and middle-class Englishman Arthur Wakefield, leader of the new colony of Nelson, is central to this historical drama. While Te Rauparaha wants to benefit his iwi, his tribe, by exploiting the Europeans for trading opportunities, Wakefield wants to transplant a model English society into the new land, and to ensure his own future. Each man has pressures: Te Rauparaha from his iwi who want an end to Pākehā encroachment of their land; Wakefield from settlers who need to build new lives on land they have been promised.
As tension builds, a Māori woman and her two children are ruthlessly murdered by a Pākehā. How will British law and order serve Te Rauparaha? Can the man standing between the rivals, newly appointed Land Commissioner, William Spain, prevent a life and death conflict over the beautiful plains of Wairau?

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Tags: Fiction