Penguin New Zealand, 2005
Longlisted, International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2007

After three years in Shanghai, Emma thought Auckland seemed thin and watery, only half-formed. It leaked north and south and west, pinched between its harbours, but it never threatened to overflow. On a map, Shanghai was a nostril in the beak of an eagle, grand and indomitable, hooking out into the East China Sea. Auckland on the map looked like a sea horse, still curled in sleep.

Emma Taupere returns to Auckland from Shanghai, where her training as a painter has made her a copyist of incredible skill. Now, Siaki, her ambitious and manipulative ex-boyfriend, has recruited her as a forger, shutting Emma away in a borrowed apartment on Princes Wharf.

Emma works day and night copying one of the most valuable Goldie paintings in the Auckland Museum until a rash act by her damaged young cousin, Ani, exposes her to danger, and Emma has no choice but to flee up the Hibiscus Coast.


“Not only is Morris a seriously good writer – the tone doesn’t jar, the characters are satisfyingly complex, and there is an interesting reflection of the way we are now – she can also deliver entertainment … Like Dickens, she can tell a great story but also “catch” the world we live in, with all its complications and ambiguities.”
– Lydia Wevers, New Zealand Listener

“The brilliantly complex, noir-esque thriller Hibiscus Coast [is] set in an Auckland connected both in terms of the plot and her depiction of the city with the “floating worlds” of contemporary Shanghai – an Auckland with even more complicated intersections of race, class, values, backgrounds and personal relationships than you get at a New Yorker’s garden party.”
– Anna Jackson, New Zealand Listener

Hibiscus Coast continues its predecessor’s strengths of fine characterization and evocative writing; and goes further by adding impressive qualities, such as a dynamic plot and knife-edge storytelling … a weighty and wonderful book.”
– Siobhan Harvey, Christchurch Press