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Paraiti is the healer and midwife of her rural, tribal people - she believes in life. But new laws in force are prohibiting unlicensed healers, making the practice of much Maori medicine illegal. She gets approached by Maraea, the servant of a wealthy woman, Rebecca, who seeks her knowledge and assistance in order to hide a secret which could destroy Rebecca's position in European settler society. This compelling story tackles moral dilemmas, exploring the nature of identity, societal attitudes to the roles of women and the tension between Western and traditional Maori medicine.

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