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Home > Screenings > NENT Studios UK > The Dead Lands


Director: Peter Burger, Michael Hurst

Producer: Fraser Brown, Leela Menon, Matthew Metcalfe, Glenn Standring

Executive Producer: Matthew Metcalfe

Writer: Glenn Standring

Cast: Te Kohe Tuhaka, Darneen Christian, Vicky Haughton

Genres: Drama

Demographics: 18-30

People: Darneen Christian, Fraser Brown, Glenn Standring, Leela Menon, Matthew Metcalfe, Michael Hurst, Peter Burger, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Vicky Haughton

The Dead Lands

NENT Studios UK
8 x 60

A murdered Māori warrior - Waka Nuku Rau - is sent back to the world of the living. The Ancestors who control the Afterlife have rejected his entry into heaven and now he's doomed to walk the earth until he redeems his sins. He's a bad man fighting to be good.

But the world Waka returns to is now haunted and ravaged by something even more terrible than him. A breach between life and the Afterlife has occurred and the spirits of the newly dead now stalk the land, sending the people cowering into their tribal fortresses.
It's a frightening, atmospheric world where the spiritual and supernatural are real. And Machiavellian political games are a given.

Almost immediately, Waka reluctantly adopts a young woman as his protégé - Mehe - who becomes his moral compass. She's every bit his equal as she teaches him how to think and to have empathy, while he mentors her in the ways of the warrior. Together they
form the core, and ultimately the heart of the series as they quest to find who "broke the world", which is the overall arc of season one.

But Mehe also strains against the conventions of her culture where her brother – Rangi – is, as a male, the preferred leader of her tribe even though he is clearly struggling with this new world unfolding around them. And where her beloved kuia, Te Paea, harbours a deep distrust of Waka, and his burgeoning relationship with Mehe.

Waka has been tainted by his journey to the underworld. His mother's ghost, Turika, appears to him in eerie visions that offer tantalising clues about his path to redemption. As does another ancestor, Ka, when we discover that even in death, the Ancestors continue to play their conspiratorial games with the living – by turns manipulating them, torturing them, but also helping them.

At the end of the season, Waka and Mehe struggle to find the source of the "disruption to the world" and in their attempt to repair it, they discover that there are far greater forces are at play than even they imagined. The gods themselves are at war for the future of the Whenua, the earth. And the Dead? They sigh to us, demanding repayment for things taken from them. And the people must listen to their sighs, because they all must face the Dead in the end.

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