Before heading into the bush to shoot, all the blokes (who included former league Warrior Wairangi Koopu) underwent a mau rakau boot camp – presumably with no boots.
Maori weapons expert Jamus Webster was on set, so we introduced each other (both being from Rotorua) and talked about the film, the style of the movie and some of the challenges he faced in bringing our deadly arts to the shoot. Deeply respectful of the power of mau taiaha, mau patu, Jamus said he was able to take elements of how our tupuna fought and to reimagine them in this film. While not wanting to spoil the narrative, he spoke about the intensity of the training and the ability of each actor to merge with the weapon which they held. Some weapons, he mentioned, have never been seen before, though had the ability to kill a person if used incorrectly. At that very moment, my head turned to see a death blow being delivered to one of the characters. It sent a primordial chill up my spine.
MAORI WARRIOR BOOT CAMP
THE DEAD LANDS : MOVIE TRAILER
Centered on the region’s native tribes in the 1600s — not to mention just the second feature ever shot entirely in the indigenous Maori language
After his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery, Hongi – a Maori chieftan’s teenage son – must avenge his father’s murder in order to bring peace and honor to the souls of his loved ones. Vastly outnumbered by the band of villains, Hongi’s only hope is to pass through the feared and forbidden Dead Lands and forge an uneasy alliance with the mysterious “Warrior,” a ruthless fighter who has ruled the area for years.