The Dead Lands starts filming in West Auckland after challenge around series' te reo content

Filming has begun in West Auckland for the multi-million dollar TV series of the movie The Dead Lands.

It's the first time a New Zealand series has been commissioned directly for the American market, and that has provided a challenge around its te reo content. 

The series is being made for AMC, the same network which made Breaking Bad, Mad Men and The Walking Dead.

"This is New Zealand as New Zealand, New Zealand with Māori culture, New Zealand with and only Māori actors, being taken into literally the biggest television markets in the world," The Dead Lands producer Matthew Metcalf told 1 NEWS.

The series is inspired by the 2015 Māori martial arts movie of the same name.

Director Peter Meteherangi Tikao Burger described it as the "Māori Game of Thrones". 

In a significant change from the movie, the television adaptation of The Dead Lands is in English, not Te Reo Māori.

Ngā Aho Whakaari's Erina Tamepo said, "If you're delivering Māori content that is pre-colonial in an English language, how does it remain authentic? So that's what concerns us the most".

Producer Tainui Stephens said to make a Māori project in English meant "mining the script a little bit further to look for a form of English that reflects Māori thinking. That's a wonderful challenge".

It's an opening that may help tell more Māori stories on the world stage.

The show is set to hit screens in 2019.

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The first NZ series commissioned directly for the US market had provided a challenge around its Te Reo content. Source: 1 NEWS