Māori superhero series, commissioned by TVNZ and US network behind The Walking Dead, premieres

A Māori superhero story full of gore, supernatural beings and martial arts launched on TVNZ OnDemand tonight.

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The Dead Lands, filmed in Auckland, will premiere first on TVNZ OnDemand. Source: 1 NEWS

The Dead Lands was shot in Auckland but commissioned for the same American cable network that makes The Walking Dead.

The supernatural adventure is set in a mythical Māori past and features a murdered Māori warrior, Waka Nuku Rau (Te Kohe Tuhaka), who is sent back to the world of the living to redeem his sins.

But the world Waka returns to is ravaged by a breach between life and the afterlife, as the spirits of the newly dead now stalk the land and hunt the living.

More than a hundred people were employed on the Auckland production.

The eight-part series was commissioned by TVNZ and AMC - an American cable channel that has The Walking Dead in its portfolio.

It is the first New Zealand series commissioned directly by a US network.

Executive producer Matthew Metcalfe says The Dead Lands is a huge achievement on many levels.

“It is a 100 per cent New Zealand production, a New Zealand story with 100 per cent New Zealand cast and crew,” he says.

“The Dead Lands really is groundbreaking. We're so humble in New Zealand, so gracious in New Zealand that sometimes we miss what we've done. Never before has a New Zealand show gone out with such a global reach,” Mr Metcalfe says.

The cast is primarily Māori and Mr Metcalfe says he is proud to be associated with a project where the Māori characters are positive, inspiring and powerful.

“I am very proud to see so many young actors in The Dead Lands embracing and celebrating their roles as Māori superheroes.”

The first two episides of The Dead Lands are now available on TVNZ OnDemand.