The Parata family haven’t had the easiest of rides so far since arriving in Summer Bay. When Ari (Rob Kipa-Williams) was injured whilst working on a construction site, he ended up right in the middle of the siege at Northern Districts Hospital.
Currently living in a motel alongside sister-in-law Gemma (Bree Peters) and nephew Nikau (Kawakawa Fox-Reo) , the red tape surrounding Ari’s injury means he is unable to work.
Despite compensation payouts which are few and far between, having no regular income means the bills are starting to pile up.
This week Gemma starts work at the Pier Diner, after Marilyn (Emily Symons) convinced Irene to finally take on another pair of hands following Leah’s disappearance. Gemma’s first day isn’t without it’s challenges as she struggles to get to grips with the workflow, but Marilyn is easy on her.
Whilst Gemma is on her lunch break, she and Ari spot Nikau being dropped off by Colby (Tim Franklin) in his police car, who had been at the station giving a statement against Jade in order to help out Ryder.
Ari is quick to assume the worst and angrily confronts Nikau about getting in trouble with the law already, but Nikau storms off without offering an explanation.
It isn’t until Gemma later sees Colby in the diner that she learns Nikau was actually doing a good deed, which brings much relief to her. The last things she wants is for Nikau to be following his father’s footsteps.
Meanwhile, an angry Nikau rings his other uncle, Tane (Ethan Browne), to offload his frustrations over Ari always being on his back. He feels like Ari is always waiting for him to mess up, and Tane comments that it seems nothing has changed where his brother is concerned.
Tane asks Nikau to go easy on his mum, and reiterates that he’s always there to help him if he needs it.
Later in the week, the family are getting more desperate as they continue to fall behind on their motel bill whilst waiting for Gemma’s first wage packet. Marilyn spots Gemma sneakily handing Nikau a free takeaway from the diner for his lunch, but Marilyn doesn’t say anything.
Nikau spends his day trying to catch fish for dinner but is unsuccessful, and apologises to Gemma for letting her down. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Marilyn, who quickly produces three burgers and makes an excuse that she made too many.
An extremely grateful Nikau heads out, whilst Gemma’s conscience gets the better of her as she admits to Marilyn about her giving Nikau a free feed earlier—though she realises that Marilyn already knew that. She’s already worked through her break to make up for it.
Marilyn tells her that it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, that they look out for each other around here and that it’s time for her to take a break, handing her a burger.
Meanwhile husband John (Shane Withington) isn’t feeling quite as generous as he continues to develop a grudge against Ari. Seeking any sort of work, Ari heads into the surf club to ask if John’s heard of anything, but John says there’s nothing.
He not so subtly hints that maybe Ari should head to one of the nearby towns, instead of hanging around Summer Bay. Ari’s quick to pick up on John’s attitude and they nearly come to blows before Dean (Patrick O’Connor) intervenes.
That evening, with Marilyn having provided Gemma with another takeaway order for their evening meal, the family return to the motel room to find all their belongings outside, they’ve been evicted.
As they prepare to spend the night in their car, the family wonder whether they’ll ever get a break…
Here’s a full rundown and video slideshow of this week’s episodes:
Monday 23rd March
Gemma and Ari panic when they assume that Nikau is in trouble with the law. Alf and Martha enjoy their relaxed staycation. Colby and Bella are given a reality check by a grieving Jasmine.
Tuesday 24th March
Jasmine is haunted by her memories in the apartment. Colby’s best effort to get Bella psychological help is met with resistance. Maggie and Roo begin their own missing persons case for Leah.
Wednesday 25th March
Alex drops a bombshell on Willow that could shape their future forever. A new lead in Leah’s case has deeply disturbed Justin. Aware Colby is struggling, Roo and Maggie step up to help Bella.
Thursday 26th March
Willow makes a shock decision. Ziggy is compelled to support a bereft Justin. Tori begins struggling with single-motherhood. Mackenzie is starting to feel the absence of Colby.
Friday 27th March
Justin finds ways to bring joy to Ziggy and Ryder. Marilyn’s friendship with Ari gets under John’s skin. Mackenzie takes a leap of faith in an attempt to move on.