The Drover’s Quest

“Tell us where you’ve got the nugget and this will go well for you,” the tall man with the horrible voice rasped.

Rumour is flying around the West Coast goldfields that Tom McGee has struck it rich and found a nugget of gold as big as a man’s fist. So no one is surprised when his campsite is later found wrecked and abandoned. Men have been killed for a lot less on the tough goldfields of 1860s New Zealand.

But one person is convinced Tom is not dead – his headstrong daughter, Charlotte. Solving the mystery is not her first task, though. First, she must get to the coast. A skilful horse rider, she disguises herself as a boy and joins a cattle drive across the Southern Alps. But Charlie is in for the ride of her life — and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Written by Susan Brocker

$23.00 incl. GST

2 in stock

Payments: Secure credit or debit card payment via Stripe, or make an online bank transfer. Shipping: $5.20 to $15.60 per order based on largest book size. Rural delivery $6 extra. Tracked courier delivery usually 1-2 days.  Returns and exchanges: See FAQs. 


Originally published by HarperCollins and now republished in a new edition from Brocker Books, The Drover’s Quest was a finalist for the LIANZA Junior Fiction Award – Esther Glen Medal 2013, a 2013 Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Book, and a NZ Listener Winner 2012.


“I absolutely loved this book. It was full of suspense the whole way through and was a definite page turner.” ~ The Reader – Booksellers Blog

“My immediate thought on this action-packed novel, was that it would make a great read-a-loud for school years 5/6 and 7/8. It has less than 180 pages, the chapters are short, the action comes thick and fast, and it has an array of characters that will hold the interest of everybody.” ~ Bob’s Book Blog

“Very memorable story. NZ history. Goldmining days. I loved how {Charlotte} knew she could hide her gender because that was what was stopping her.” ~ Goodreads review

About The Drover’s Quest

The Drover’s Quest is set in Christchurch and on the West Coast of New Zealand at the time of the 1860s gold rush. Charlotte, a 14-year-old girl, and Joseph, a young teenage boy, both have demons to lay to rest. Charlotte can’t forgive her father, Tom, for seemingly abandoning her at a Christchurch boarding school while he hunts for gold. Joseph is of Cherokee descent and has sailed from America to look for stock work to help bury his guilt for his wrongly supposed responsibility for the death of his father when they worked as trackers for the Union Army during the American Civil War.

When Tom goes missing from the West Coast goldfields, Charlotte disguises herself as a boy, and teams with Joseph up on a cattle drive across the Southern Alps to find her missing father. Both are skilled riders and develop a growing respect for each other during a difficult and dangerous cattle drive over the newly formed Arthur’s Pass to deliver the stock to Hokitika, and then search for Tom.

The Drover’s Quest explores relationships between people and animals and gives an insightful look at the motivations that drive people to go to extraordinary lengths to accomplish something that really matters to them. The historical setting is gritty and authentic, and the cast of strongly drawn characters, many with dubious motives and agendas, make this a compelling read.

Meet the Kiwi author

Susan BrockerFind out more about Tauranga author Susan Brocker on her author page.

Additional information

Dimensions20 × 13 cm

Paperback edition



Page count


Published by

Brocker Books

Find other great Kiwi kids books!