My thoughts when I selected this book, “Oh look. A book about the Maori. I don't know much about them. How's about I pick up this one? It says 'Maori' right there on the cover.”
It should have been called British Bro's Wild New Zealand Ride. It's all from the perspective of the British colonists who warred with the Maori until they won like they always did. Details about the Maori traditions and way of life were sprinkled meagerly throughout the story and were the only things keeping me interested in this plodding soap opera.
I didn't like the main character, Robert Coffin. So he's got a wife in England, but he hangs around New Zealand for the whaling industry, and oh by the way, he's got an Irish mistress and two whole children by her. But then his English wife comes by and he drops the Irish woman. To his credit, at least he wants to set her and the children up somewhere for him to take care of financially. But then he just dips out when she had the audacity to get mad at him. How dare she?
Then, years later, he happens to exchange glances with the daughter of a Maori chief and they immediately fall in love, and he knocks her up. But she's even better than the poor Irish woman because she's totally fine with being kept as a servant in one of his houses. Finally. Robert Coffin got the bang maid he always wanted.
At the very least, he got what he deserved in the end. And by that, I mean he was sad. Oh, and Mount Tarawera erupts, which really did happen in real life. The end.