Koru tells the story of a Japanese occupation of New Zealand in the Second World War. It is a fable about the occupation of one culture by another. As once the Polynesian people of Aotearoa were overwhelmed by European settlers, so now the Europeans are themselves overwhelmed by a powerful East Asian people: the occupiers become the occupied.

Koru is the story of the MacKenzies, a white Pakeha family torn between resistance and a sullen accommodation to the new regime. It is the story of Satō, a Japanese soldier who dreams of bringing his young wife to the new land, and raising a family with her there. It is the story of Māori chiefs Manukura and Tāne, their old friendship challenged by competing visions of their people’s future. And it is the story of schoolfriends Marama and Ngaire, Māori and Pakeha, accidental heroines of history.

Koru is a story of families broken and new made, of love lost and won, of peoples battling for dominance and for unity. It is a fable of unfolding, the unfolding of self-knowledge in an isolated, beautiful and fractured land striving to be made whole.