Mal Meninga is a man of huge status in the world of Rugby League. He is also a highly respected member Australia’s South Sea Islander community, descendants of the indentured labourers brought from the Pacific Islands to work the Queensland cane fields amid accusations of kidnapping, slavery, racism and mistreatment.
With a new family of three young children, Mal is keen to pass his heritage on, but his knowledge of his ancestry is foggy.
Older South Sea Islanders were reluctant to talk about their troubled past, and many were illiterate, so there are few written records. It’s a knowledge gap felt keenly by many in the community, who see parallels in their experience with the “stolen generation”.
Mal must unravel conflicting accounts of why his ancestor left the islands– was he tricked or was he looking for adventure and opportunity?