> Skip to content
  • Published: 29 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9780143776673
  • Imprint: RHNZ Black Swan
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $37.00


A distant land, a new life, an escape from the past.

It is 1839 and Huw Pengellin is desperate to find a better life for his family than the one he ekes out in Wales. His wife, Martha, is fully aware just how foolhardy Huw’s schemes can be, but she is keen to escape the foundry slums, as well as Huw’s brother Gareth, with his hot eyes and roving hands. Might Colonel Wakefield’s plans to take settlers to the distant shores of New Zealand offer a solution?

On the other side of the world, watching the new arrivals, is Hineroa, who is also desperate to find a better life. Will she be a slave for ever, will she ever be reunited with her people, and will the ships that keep sailing into the bay bring further trouble?

Change is underway, not just for these characters but also for the crescent of beach, thick bush and steep hills that are about to become the bustling settlement of Wellington.

  • Published: 29 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9780143776673
  • Imprint: RHNZ Black Swan
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $37.00

About the author

Jenny Pattrick

Jenny Pattrick is an acclaimed historical novelist, whose The Denniston Rose, and its sequel Heart of Coal, are among New Zealand’s biggest-selling novels. They have also been republished in an illustrated edition. The former teacher and jeweller’s works include the Whanganui novel Landings, and Inheritance, set in Samoa, which, along with all her adult titles, have been number one bestsellers in New Zealand. Other titles include Catching the Current (2005), In Touch with Grace (2006), Skylark (2012), Heartland (2014), Leap of Faith (2017) and Harbouring (2022). In 2009 she received the New Zealand Post Mansfield Fellowship. She has been active in the arts community, and has also written stories, songs and shows for children.

Identified by Nicky Pellegrino as ‘one of this country’s most talented storytellers’, it has been said that she creates ‘an authentic stage for a cast of characters who interact in ways that always ring true’ (The Christchurch Press). Reviewing Landings, Graham Beattie concluded: ‘It is not surprising that she is one of NZ’s most popular contemporary novelists and this fine piece of historical fiction will further enhance that well-deserved reputation.’

For more information go to: https://jenny-pattrick.com/books-by-jenny/

Also by Jenny Pattrick

See all

Praise for Harbouring

The story is from the lens of new 'settlers', those fleeing a brutal class system, those desperate for a new beginning and those in the 'tween ranks of life. I found this refreshing as many historical novels pitch the tale from the top power players and those that truly carve out the land become 'faceless' . . . A thoroughly encompassing novel to reach for as the colder winter nights start to close in. Highly Recommended.

Sue's Reviews, Wairarapa Times-Age

This I predict . . . will be another bestseller . . . Of course, if you know anything about Jenny's books, you'll know that her best qualities are . . . writing characters, absorbing them into her bloodstream in a sense and . . . you want to know what will happen next, not only that, of course, is the plots are usually very, very gripping and this one is no exception . . . we are always reminded of the people who have not been written about and that's what Jenny is so good at and she's done it again here. I've been very excited about this; I read it some weeks ago before it was officially published and I went straight back when my copy arrived to read it last week again and it holds up beautifully. It's got that extra, wonderful thrill of you're being right there . . . she's very good with the nasty people . . . she actually put New Zealand's historical novels on the map and then continued to do so.

Ralph McAllister, Radio NZ

. . . it was Pattrick's fiction which convinced me that19th century New Zealand could be made alive and absorbing. Since her best-seller The Denniston Rose, I've approached our fictional past with anticipation rather than apprehension. Pattrick shifted my view of the whole genre. . . So credible, too: the voices are authentic and subversive. . . . Pattrick has written thousands of pages in her years on the job; she's got a professional's awareness of which notes chime and which clang. . . Much happens, and it's competently placed and spaced. Many of the good end optimistically; a number of the bad don't. That's always satisfying.Pattrick knows how to include her research so that it's a background wash rather than a foreground blob. Those who wants good hard facts in their fiction (how peculiar) will find them. A multi-layered cast is adroitly controlled; you become rewardingly invested in the principals' arcs and ends. You also wish to smack the newcomers who intend to teach Maori “the Christian ways”. Harbouring is a big, bold read.

David Hill, newsroom

Pattrick’s knowledge of characterisation both in her previous works and throughout Harbouring is exemplary. She is able to catapult the reader into the world of these characters seamlessly, pushing the plot forward in crafted and meticulous fashion. The reader really does feel as though they know these characters on the page as individuals, as real people. We feel and respond along with their plights as we might with a colleague, or friend. Similarly, it is Pattrick’s inherent ability to keep the reader guessing. Despite having the sense of a beautiful tranquil journey through historical drama a la Green Gables, there are elements of the story that are tremendously engaging, gripping, and unexpected. That Maori voice, subplot and exploration being one of them. In essence, it is almost the story behind the story. Usually from this era of New Zealand there are the knowns (the Wakefields for example) who are long written about, and contemporised through modern literature, and then there are the unknowns. And it is the unknowns that Jenny Pattrick - like in other books by her - has been able to capture and expound on the virtues of, in such an interesting way. Overall, Pattrick’s Harbouring is a real gem of a novel. It is sure to find its way into the heart of every reader it meets. Certainly sits strongly in the memory and the revelation of life, as it was, in those challenging, but remarkable times in our nation’s history.

Chris Reed, NZ Booklovers

There is no doubt that I can recognise everything I know of early Wellington in this story. The towering trees and roughly cut roads, shining harbour full of ships and gutsy weather. There is bureaucratic bumbling, land sales and deeds changing hands with a wink and a shuffle, shifted survey pegs. People from home arrive to reinvent their lives. There are very real friendships with Māori—love and misunderstandings, too. . . . Welcome to early Wellington.

Cristina Sanders, Cristina Sanders blog

The author's thorough research is evident in this substantial novel, which concentrates on the lower North Island, Te Upoko o Te Ika, and the burgeoning white settlement of Wellington. Through Hineroa's story we are privy to the alliances and confrontations of surrounding iwi, and of the campaigns led by Te Rauparaha and others from up north. There is a firm historical background, which Pattrick's end notes explain clearly. Harbouring has several surprising narrative turns, resisting predictability. These revolve in part around the clashing ideals of cultures. . . Pattrick makes no judgements, more a curious observer, with her characters narrating in straightforward prose. . . Harbouring packs a lot in, portraying a few pivotal years in our country's history, against immense historical background. Characters are resilient while they are suffering. Most but not all hold on to their integrity, reminding the reader of the gruelling conditions for our people who went before.

Jessie Neilson, Kete Books

This historical novel is a magnificent piece of storytelling that seamlessly brings history and fiction together. Opening in 1839, Martha and Huw escape a grinding life of poverty in Wales to start a new life in Wellington, New Zealand, but they struggle in this burgeoning society. Hineroa, a young Maori wahine whose life is dominated by oppression, faces different struggles. The story takes unexpected turns before a connection between the main protagonists begins to emerge. Harbouring is an immersive read with suspense and energy that brings our nation’s history to life.

NZ Booklovers Awards 2023 judges' report

I always enjoy this author's historical New Zealand novels. Harbouring takes readers back to 1839 where they meet Huw Penegellin trying to eke out a living for his family . . . Great characters, a fast-moving story and a backdrop of thick bush and steep hills that is becoming a place called Wellington.

Linda Hall, Wairarapa Times Age

Awards & recognition

The NZSA New Zealand Heritage Literary Awards

Winner  •  2022  •  NZSA Heritage Book Awards

New Zealand Booklovers Awards

Shortlisted  •  2023  •  NZ Booklovers Awards

Discover more

Find your perfect winter read!

Temperatures are dropping, the nights are getting darker and it’s the perfect time to find a cozy spot to curl up with a good book . . .