This is a story unique to us as New Zealanders, unravelling the legacy of the women in our past and stirring the ones too wild to be captured. It is a sea-shanty, a coarse and vulgar rhyme that will make you laugh and cry to smell the sea again after so long.
Set in the era of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Kororāreka (Russell) was a lawless outpost in a wild country.
Maggie Flynn leaves Ireland a convict and arrives in Kororāreka the captain of a whaling ship. When burying her husband on the shores of this land she is captured by a Māori chief and becomes his mōkai, a prestige slave more akin to a pet. An unthinkable intimacy burns between her and the chief until her fateful rescue where she loses all she has held dear. Her fortune continues to twist and turn as Maggie becomes a force facilitating the burgeoning trade between Māori and European settlers, the publican and madam of the notorious Duke of Marlborough Hotel. One day culture and history collide and her ultimate undoing is the very world she sought to escape.