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The Dead Lands

by Toa Fraser

The Dead Lands

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Set in pre-colonial New Zealand — or, as it was known to its inhabitants, "Te Ao Maori" (the Maori World) — The Dead Lands is a dazzling action epic that has the distinction of being the first film ever to feature Mau rakau, the traditional (and terrifying) Maori martial art of armed combat. More than just an action film, it is also firmly grounded in the tribal culture of the time, particularly the concept of mana (meaning honour, respect, power, and prestige) and the intricate protocols associated with it.

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