Released: January 1st, 2000
Status: In Print
In pioneer NZ, two brothers learn about the realities of their new and different life.
New Zealand, at the end of the 19th Century and Walter Burton is embittered by a warning from authorities that he is not to exhibit photographs he has taken of Maori imprisoned by Colonial troops. When his more pragmatic brother Alfred joins Walter in NZ, Alfred is prepared to comply with official suggestions that his photographs of Maori be more acceptable to London society.
Differences between the brothers are heightened by Walter's drinking and the distress Alfred's wife Lydia has for living in the colonies.
To become better acquainted with Maori, Alfred hires the dispossessed Ngatai to accompany him on an expedition up the Whanganui River with John Rochfort, a Government surveyor seeking a rail track route through the North Island.
Rochfort genially disregards distress and poverty in the Maori villages and pushes forward with his plans, even when Maori pull out his survey pegs. Rochfort is taken prisoner by Maori.
With Ngatai' s reluctant help, Alfred assists Rochfort to escape. Honours are heaped on Alfred for his bravery and his pictures adding to Walter's distress and determination to assert himself. Walter exhibits his controversial pictures - with disastrous results for both him and his brother.