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New Zealand 1953. 13-year-old Elizabeth is an ardent admirer of the young Queen of England. The girl dreams of actually meeting her namesake some day. What a wonderful surprise that the queen plans a visit to New Zealand, including Elizabeth's hometown Middleton Station. Now the competitive zeal as to who may perform at the welcome ceremony begins. The townspeople are out of their minds with joy, except the old Maori woman Hira Mata, who lives a lonesome and secluded life in a modest hut. She is the only living survivor of her tribe and does not have a liking for the queen due to her history of suffering. Her neighbours avoid her. Only Elizabeth wants to be near her and quickly realizes that she can learn a lot about her country's history and her ancestors from Hira Mata.