Upper Waimakariri

Set in the high country of mid-19th century Canterbury. Heathcliff, a 7-year-old Ngāi Tahu Māori, becomes part of the Earnshaw family, a settler household on a small holding in the Upper Waimakariri. He is scorned by the older Earnshaw boy, Hindley, but gradually becomes the obsessive love of Hindley’s sister, Cathy, who feels that to be true to herself—to be human—she must become like Heathcliff, wild and free. In truth, she is wilder and freer. But when she comes of age she announces she intends returning to society by marrying into the Ellworthys of Thrushcross Station. The Ellworthys are major Canterbury stock, tracing their lineage back to the Duke of Marlborough and Elizabeth Tudor; whereas Cathy tells us the Earnshaws go back to mere urine collectors in Yorkshire. Heathcliff is embittered by what he sees as a betrayal by Cathy, leaves the Earnshaws and seeks to transform himself. When he returns to the Canterbury high country, a fortune made, he is bent on revenge.