The Unknown Zone begins with the 1965 story of fifteen-year-old Hemi Ratana who, traumatised by a humiliating incident, climbs a giant kauri on the Coromandel Peninsula in a do-or-die test of courage.
High in the head branches of the kauri, Hemi finds a human skeleton. Around its neck is a key on a chain. What does the key unlock?
Nearly 160 years earlier, on the West Coast of the South Island, a group of sealers from Australia is taken captive by Ngai Tahu marauders. In a desperate bid for survival one of these captives joins up with another Maori group and they all journey to the eastern Coromandel.
These two stories intertwine in a powerful, gripping and passionate tale of land rights, spirituality, coming-of-age and love.
First published 2005.
BEST FIRST BOOK WINNER IN THE NEW ZEALAND POST BOOK AWARDS 2006
Winner of New Zealand Post Children's Book Award: Best First Book 2006. Shortlisted for New Zealand Post Children's Book Award: Senior Fiction 2006.
Phil Smith is a first-time author who lives in Mount Maunganui. He has worked as a journalist, wood carver, stained glass artist, timber worker, forklift driver, builder and scenic tour guide. He is a keen surfer, rock climber, tramper and amateur geologist.