DRAMA. White settlers in New Zealand come into conflict with Maori tribes. Rl. 1. BBFC Certificate, main title and credits (163). 1821. New Zealand. Philip Wayne and the bosun, Paddy Clarke, explore the new land. They chase a pig into a cave and Wayne discovers a sacred burial ground. Disturbed by the sight he rushes out only to be confronted with Clarke being held captive by the local Maori tribe. Clarke lifts his wig to mop his head and the tribe are astonished, thinking he can move his hair. They take him to their chief, Hongi Tepe. In order that their lives might be spared Wayne has to run a race with the warrior Rangiruru. Wayne must swim a river then run to the encampment while being pursued by the warrior who is trying to kill him. Wayne succeeds and is adopted by the chief. The chief gives him land by the shore to settle in. Wayne is also introduced to the chief's father who is dying. The father predicts that Wayne will return and that the father will see the arrival of `wisdom' before his son, Hongi Tepe. Rl. 2. That evening Hongi Tepe's wife dances. The dance is designed to insult the captured prisoners of the rival tribe who are lined up in front of a fire. Awarua, the sharman of the tribe, insults Wayne since he has been given land and is evidently a favourite of the chief. The prisoners are revealed to be mummified heads on poles of previously captured prisoners. Wayne is sickened by the display. However, Hongi Tepe shakes his hand and utters the words `peace'. Wayne and Clarke return to their ship. A gift of two mummified heads is sent to them but Wayne drops them overboard in horror. They set sail for home. In the Thames estuary, the Captain offers to let Wayne and Clarke go ashore at Rochester providing they take with them a chest of silk shawls. They do so knowing they risk being caught by the customs and excise, which they are. On searching the contents two mummified heads are found. At their trial the two men are given large fines. Marion, Wayne's fiancée, is upset by the verdict and her father tries to persuade to to give up her love for Wayne. Wayne, after paying the fine, is in his rooms writing to Marion. He intends to make a new life for himself in New Zealand. Marion is shown in and reads his letter. She still wishes to marry him and they embrace. The couple, along with Clarke, set sail. As they sight land, Wayne notices a canoe carrying the body of the chief's father, thus fulfilling the prediction. Rl. 3. Wayne introduces his wife to Hongi Tepe. As they leave Wayne notices Rangiruru. The warrior dribbles from his mouth and craddles his dog his only companion . Hongi Tepe informs Wayne that he has been like that since the rival tribe attacked them and Rangiruru was hit on the head. Marion teaches Hongi Tepe Christianity. Meanwhile the couple, with Clarke's aid, build a house and begin farming. Other settlers arrive to help them. Marion becomes pregnant and has a son. He is baptised by Marion and the service is attended by the chief and his tribe. The chief plants a twig by the river and says it is a sign that if it grows strong the boy will grow strong. Wayne is determined that the tribes should not have access to guns and forbids anyone from leaving the settlement without a gun. Hongi Tepe's wife, Moana, has taken to Wayne and pursues him when he leaves the settlement. She seduces him. Rl. 4. The liasion between Wayne and Moana continues. She steals out of her encampment one night and meets Wayne. However, Hongi Tepe follows and observes them. One of the settlers, Wishart, leaves the settle with a gun disobeying Wayne's orders. While crossing the volcanic mud pools he sees an animal running and shoots it. It is Rangiruru's dog. Rangiruru is angered and attacks Wishart. In the struggle the gun goes off and the Maori is shot dead. Other Maoris arrive and they drag Wishart off to their camp. Rl. 5. Wayne must visit the camp to save Wishart. Wayne knows Hongi Tepe is aware of his wife's adultery, because the chief has talked to Marion about the Christian reaction to the situation and has imprisoned Moana. Despite the machinations of Awarua, the sharman, Wayne manages to free Wishart, promising a trial. Thwarted in his plans to rid the land of the settlers, Awarua begins negotiations with the rival tribe. The two tribes agree to peace at an elaborate ceremony. Meanwhile Wayne and the settlers prepare to defend themselves. They defend the settlement, digging foxholes and placing shells around the perimeter which will alert them to an attack. The rival tribe attacks the settlement. Moana escapes and tries to warn them but is killed by the rival tribe. Rl. 6. Moved by his conscience, and the words of Marion, Hongi Tepe and his tribe go to the aid of the settlers. The settlers are now barricaded into their house which is on fire. Hongi Tepe arrives and fights the rival tribe. He is saved by a shot from Wayne's gun but the house is engulfed in flames and all the settlers are killed. In the daylight the tribe sifts through the debris. They hear a baby crying and Hongi Tepe discovers the hiding place of Marion's son. He takes the baby as his own and passes the now strong and growing tree he orignally planted at the baby's baptism. New settlers arrive on the beach.