It is 1859 in the raw new township of New Plymouth where Hannah Carstairs walks between two worlds.
To her English father, she is Hannah; to her Maori step-mother, she is Hana who speaks Maori, but only when Papa or her beloved Aunt Frances aren't around.
Soon, Hannah finds that both her worlds are changing.
First, there are the disturbing hints about her dead mother's past.
Then, the tensions between the Maori tribes and the settlers boil over into war.
Hannah and her twin brother Jamie flee from the fighting.
They board a sailing ship and make the long trip to England where they must confront the past.