Ana knew what it was like to feel life emerge from her body, the sensation of all-encompassing love at the sight of her own newborn. A tear snaked down her cheek—the pain lay too near the surface tonight—but she brushed it aside with the back of her hand and took a deep breath.

She was tired. She needed coffee.

Stifling a yawn she unlocked the internal door that led to the rest of her house. Halfway along the hallway she stopped. A strip of light under the kitchen door warned her Whina was up. Ana slumped; that was the last thing she needed after a full day in the surgery, a snatched hour’s sleep and a home birth - her mother. 

Robert always towered over everyone and felt gigantic, ugly and awkward. He took a deep breath through his nose and for a few moments the room echoed with the enormity of his silence. He stood up. Inside his head words rang out, pushing him forward.

Romeo. He’d never been out of Auckland before. As they flew down the motorway—leaving first the city, and then the suburbs where the scenery melted into pastoral farmland—his nerves began to unfurl like a burgeoning koru.

Colin Maynard stood on his balcony holding a double whiskey. He looked out over Wellington harbour, watching dusk descend. He still couldn’t believe she’d called.

When the phone rang he’d felt every hair on the back of his neck bristle. He didn’t know how, but he’d known it was her.

Laurel, looking like a breath of spring in a white muslin shirt and embroidered denim shorts, stared at her mother, a horrified expression on her face. ‘You look like you put glue all over your body and ran through St Vincent de Pauls.’

Piripi settled back against the kitchen bench. ‘Yeah, she forced me with her voodoo magic.’ Robert reached out to cuff his ear but Piripi leapt out of the way. ‘Hey, man, don’t mess with my mana.’