Puffin New Zealand, 2013

The smoke was like a thick mist, making it hard to see anything. But Hene could hear the crackling of flames, distant shouts and booming guns. She felt as though she was high in a grey sky, crawling through a thunder cloud, and waiting to be hit by lightning.

Hene and the Burning Harbour tells the story of Hene, a Maori girl living in 1840s New Zealand, and is for younger readers aged 7-10.

Northland, 1845. When Hene’s twin brother falls dangerously ill, her parents fear she will also catch the sickness, so they send her away from her home at the pa to the Paihia mission station. Life with the missionaries is difficult. Hene must wear a hot European dress and learn to sew, which she hates.

Meanwhile, across the water in Russell, the world is in turmoil. Hone Heke has cut down the flagpole again and has attacked Korororeka. Hene sees smoke and fire from across the bay; the town is on fire and her best friend from the mission house, Rangi, is trapped there. Hene is the only one who can save her.


“Amid smoking ruins and full musket warfare, Hene faces the threat of certain death in order to rescue her friend. This is a tale of loyalty, bravery and success, and is a great read.”
– Otago Daily Times

More Young Adult Fiction by Paula Morris