Teipe is a child born to the Ngati Tinomana on Rarotonga hundreds of years ago. As an infant he witnesses a battle in which his father is nearly killed. In response his ariki (high chief) Tamatea, selects people, including Teipe's family, friends and the girl Karu, chosen to be his future va'ine (wife). They accompany the ariki's own family on a settlement voyage to 'Avaiki Tautau - a huge, half legendary land with mountains that belch fire but a land where they dream of peace and plenty. On this eventful voyage approaching his new home, conflicted with fear and a sense of adventure, Teipe learns many ocean navigation skills handed down from his ancestors. To survive his people will need to live with change. Leaving both Rarotonga and their childhoods behind, Teipe and his friends grow in confidence and rise to the challenge.