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Hero image for Epidemic - Hemi Te Koaka (First Episode)

Epidemic - Hemi Te Koaka (First Episode)

Television (Full Length Episode) – 1976

Part one of a four part thriller written by Keith Aberdein. In a small North Island town, a mysterious unmarked grave is believed to hold the remains of a tohunga who died ridding his people of a deadly epidemic. Now, an archaeological dig might be getting too close to that grave. A visiting doctor (Cathy Downes) arrives in town to find the locals in a state of agitation; the archaelogist (Martyn Sanderson) full of good intentions, but unaware of where his actions could lead; and relations between Māori and Pakeha strained as two cultures struggle to co-exist.

Here, it seemed was a major piece of New Zealand produced bi-lingual entertainment, modestly labelled as a thriller but dominated by things Maori, not merely in performance but in substance and in thought – a ground breaker in that respect.
– Hal Smith, Letter to the Editor - NZ Listener, 16 October 1976


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