Hongi (James Rolleston) a Maori chieftain’s teenage son, witnesses an act of desecration of ancestors’ bones by the villainous Wirepa (Te Kohe Tuhaka), the son of a rival chief. Wirepa blames Hongi, but Hongi’s father Tane(George Henare) is too clever to be taken in by this. As Wirepa and his men depart, it is plain that war between the two tribes is inevitable.
But Wirepa doesn’t go home. His ambition is greater and more selfish that that. He wants glory. Personal glory. He attacks Hongi’s tribe in the night, as they sleep. The following day, Hongi learns his father is dead and feels the sting of his aunt’s tongue when she blames him for it all. But it steels Hongi too. He is now bent on seeking revenge against Wirepa. Hongi knows he must do what tradition tells him: he must follow Wirepa and make him pay. Or die trying.
But he immediately discovers a terrible truth. Wirepa has taken a short cut, through the Dead Lands, a fearful place where a powerful tribe lived until they all disappeared in an instant.
On his first night in the Dead Lands, Hongi sees the ghost of his grandmother (Rena Owen). She scolds him for his stupidity. Alone, he will not kill Wirepa and she will not get revenge for the death of her son, Hongi’s father. She guides him to The Warrior (Lawrence Makoare), a ruthless fighter who lives in the Dead Lands who is perhaps not a man at all, but who might help Hongi, for a price.
Hongi finds The Warrior, a monster of a man with three eerily beautiful wives, and begs him for help. The Warrior, possibly a demon, may choose to eat him or he may choose to help the young man. After some harshly truthful words from his senior wife, The Warrior decides to help Hongi.
The two unlikely allies travel through the Dead Lands, battling their way to seek Hongi’s vengeance. Their fateful encounters include an intense and brutal fight with a formidable and beautiful female warrior, Mehe (Raukura Turei).
‘For Hongi it will be a journey to adulthood and the discovery of his true leadership skills’