A Maori elder retreats deep into his past, reflecting on Old New Zealand and the historic trip to visit Queen Victoria.
Based on a true story
Auckland, June 1886.
Ngati Wai chief Paratene Te Manu spends long sessions, over three long days, having his portrait painted by the Bohemian painter Gottfried Lindauer. Hearing of Lindauer's planned trip to England reminds him of his own journey there, twenty years earlier, with a party of northern rangatira. As he sits for Lindauer, Paratene retreats deeper and deeper into the past, from the triumphs in London and their meetings with royalty to the disintegration of the visit into poverty, mistrust, and humiliation.
'Morris' research is both thorough and thoughtful . . . With its light, often wry tone, much of the story-telling is amusing, albeit desperately poignant.'
—Margie Thomson, Canvas
'An extraordinary literary achievement and probably the best of recent New Zealand historical novels.'
—Nicholas Reid, New Zealand Books
'[An] adroitly told historical novel . . . Paratene – old, forgetful but wise and generous in his appraisals – is our lens, and he's a triumph of characterisation, his voice genial and flawlessly authentic.'
—John McCrystal, New Zealand Listener
Also available as an eBook
Also by Paula Morris