Family is another important theme in the story. Here, the family acts as a tight cultural unit, protecting its members from the harshness of the outside world. Rose's family is loving and strong; the relationships between Rose and Hera, and between the two sisters and their parents, really couldn't be any better. Their home is filled with warmth, laughter, and the delicious aroma of mother's "big Maori bread."
Beneath the idyllic surface, however, there are complexities in the dynamics of family life. After Rose chastises Jane for her prejudiced remark, Hera is forced to reflect on the uncomfortable fact that her family's always relied upon Rose to speak up for them. Instead of challenging prejudice together, Hera and her family have inadvertently put the burden onto Rose's shoulders.
Nevertheless, there are signs of hope, as Hera resolves to be more like her courageous sister and stand up for what she believes in. Although Hera comes from a strong, supportive family, her upbringing has not prepared her adequately for dealing with the prejudices of white New Zealand society. And if she is to challenge those prejudices, she'll need to stand up for herself, her family, and her people, just like her sister, Rose.