The sea can be friendly one moment and deadly the next. Fifteen-year-old Roz runs away with her younger sister, Dawn, to an isolated bay on the coast north of Wellington. They are fleeing from devastating problems within their family involving alcoholism and abuse. Roz is looking for a peaceful refuge, but finds that looking after her traumatised sister means that new demands are made on her. She keeps hearing mysterious ancestral voices emanating from Kapiti Island – voices telling her something she can't understand.

Roz meets Don on the beach, a taciturn older man wrestling with his own troubled past. She also meets Vic, a rebellious, charismatic young man who works in a local bookshop but is keen to become an artist. The futures of these three people are entwined - they are forced by the same mystical powers to look towards Kapiti Island. But Roz has to face both her own fears and the wrath of a dangerous storm before she can be sure of her true path.

Author's Comment

The idea for this story began with the setting – Pukerua Bay, half an hour's drive north of Wellington. It's a wild, rough beach, covered with pebbles and huge chunks of driftwood. Some years ago I was lucky enough to stay in a bach right on the beach. Sleeping so close to the sea was an eerie experience, and I tried to capture this feeling in Hideout.

When I was writing the story I interviewed members of the family who used to own the bach and recorded their experiences of living there. I have never experienced a storm at Pukerua Bay, but my description is based on the memories of people who have. I took many photos of the beach and stuck them up on the wall over my desk while I was writing. Eventually, the beach became like another character in the story.

Reader's Activity

Research and list the reasons why Kapiti Island is such an important place to many Maori and Pakeha New Zealanders.

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