In 1906, at just 16 years of age, Angelina Criscillo left the tiny volcanic island of Stromboli off Sicily to travel to an even remoter island on the other side of the world. From the age of eight she had been betrothed to her cousin, Vincenzo Moleta, who was now twice her age and taking her to a new life on D'Urville Island in New Zealand. Facing the fierce tides and weather of this wild island on the edge of Cook Strait, and having to cope with loneliness, the incessant toil of a pioneer farm, and the bitterness of a developing family feud, Angelina found solace in an unlikely friendship with a high-born Maori woman, Wetekia Ruruku Elkington, who lived nearby. Together they shared their own struggles, their different cultures and lack of English language; a process that awakened Angelina to her own inner strengths. Angelina and Vincenzo finally left D'Urville Island in 1946, and both died within a few months of each other in Wellington in 1954. The part that the Moletas and Wetekia played in the history of D'Urville Island has since been acknowledged by having features on the island named after them. Recreated by Angelina and Vincenzo's grandson, Gerard Hindmarsh, Angelina is a remarkable story that movingly captures the struggles and triumphs of pioneering immigrant life in New Zealand.
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