It's the 1870s, and Māori leader Te Wheke (Anzac Wallace) is fed up by brutal land grabs. He leads a bloody rebellion against the colonial Government, provoking threatened frontiersmen, disgruntled natives, lusty wahine, bible-bashing priests, and kupapa alike to consider the nature of ‘utu’ (retribution). Legendary New Yorker critic Pauline Kael raved about Geoff Murphy’s ambitious follow up to Goodbye Pork Pie: "[He] has an instinct for popular entertainment ... The film has sweep, yet it's singularly unpretentious — irony is turned into slapstick."
For me it is blood for blood. Utu.– Matu (Merata Mita)
Made with funding from the NZ Film Commission
Presented with thanks to the New Zealand Film Heritage Trust – Te Puna Ataata
Music composed by John Charles; performed by the NZ Symphony Orchestra, conducted by William Southgate
Waiatas by Jane and Paul Mareikura
Māori flute by Joe Malcolm