Connected by blood but separated by circumstances, three cousins spend a lifetime in search of each other. Based on the 1992 novel by Patricia Grace.
3 Māori cousins.
Mata, introverted, watchful, a seer of spirits, the child of a Māori mother and an abusive Pākehā (white) father. Makareta, raised to be the princess of her tribe, spoilt and educated in both worlds. Missy, cheeky, insecure and often overlooked, the heartbeat of her family.
Stolen from her whānau, placed in an orphanage and watched over by a vengeful guardian, Mata lives out her childhood in fear and bewilderment, saved only by her wonderful imagination. Back on the land, cousin Makareta flees an arranged marriage and Missy takes her place as bride, amalgamating the land and taking on the mantle of kaitiaki (guardian). However the pair never give up hoping that Mata will come home.
Years pass, Makareta becomes a lawyer and Missy works the land, but things don’t go well for Mata. Incapable of physical love, her marriage ends. For a time she takes care of a friend’s child but when he’s taken from her, the voices from the past call and she takes to the streets. While Mata searches for her long dead mother, Makareta searches for Mata. Their paths nearly cross several times but it’s not until both are in their sixties that they find each other. On that night Makareta takes Mata home and encourages her to return to the land with her. Mata refuses but as she’s leaving she hears her mother’s voice. On returning to the house she finds that Makareta has died.
At Makareta’s tangihanga (funeral) Mata’s tears flow for the first time and as spirits of the dead gather she finally sees and is seen by her own mother. Mata and Missy sit one at each side of Makareta’s casket and Mata’s face becomes alive and serene. She is finally home.