Mataku - Māori Tales of the Unexplained
December 8, 2017 12:37 AM   Subscribe

Mataku is basically the Māori X Files, and it’s a national embarrassment that this show isn’t every part as much cultural canon as The Lord of the Rings or Outrageous Fortune.

Mataku: The M Files (Don Rowe, The Spinoff)
‘Chilling tales of the unexplained and the unexpected’, Mataku is an early 2000’s show that explores the consequences of messing with tapu and tikanga Māori. The border between the spirit world and our own is gossamer.
Nine out of the twenty episodes produced are available to view in full on youtube (unfortunately without Temuera Morrison’s creepy introductions):

Season One
  • The Blue Line - Kahurangi (23’38)
    When a property development company starts to clear land to make way for a new casino, a young female executive is overtaken by the spirit of an old Māori woman. She is compelled to keep the land sacred… at any cost.
  • The Enchanted Flute - Te Ngoro (22’30)
    A shy young man finds a Māori bone flute on a beach, which seems to be the answer to his problems, but which could lead him to his doom.
  • Going to War - Te Mura O Te Ahi (22’21)
    A young Maori soldier who is sceptical about his family's traditional beliefs has his mind changed when he encounters his uncle who died years before in World War II.
  • The Sisters - Ngā Tuāhine (21’37)
    Devoted sisters, Nola and Naera, are separated as children when Naera goes missing in the forest. Nola carries the pain of her sister's disappearance into adulthood, and when her own life begins to crumble around her, Naera appears to her, with a plan to reunite the sisters forever.
  • The Rocks - Nga Kohatu (22’30)
    A rocky outcrop, once the site of a bloody killing, carries a curse, bringing heartbreak and tragedy to the family that farm the land.
Season Two
  • The Fishing Trip - Te Hi Ika (21’45)
    There are dire consequences when friends on a fishing trip land on sacred land.
  • The Lost Tribe - Iwi Ngaro (22’08)
    During a training exercise, an Army unit stumbles across a lost warrior from the past.
  • Divine Intervention - Mai Te Hohonu (22’24)
    A taxi driver summons a taniwha to deal with a new rival.
  • The Final Plume - Te Raukura (23’46)
    Sean Ngari is a model teenager, but without warning he attacks his father in a violent rage. Sean persists in violent behaviour and is locked away. Sean's mother consults a tohunga who reveals that Sean is acting on the dying wish of an old Māori Chief. It is prophesied that he will kill his own father. The tohunga tries to break the curse without realizing there are other forces at work.
  • The Pathway of the Spirit - Te Ara-Wairua (22’59)
    The marriage of Kingi and Marama is the perfect match. Their love for one another has no boundaries. When tragedy strikes, an old Maori legend leads Kingi into the world of the spirits, with the hope of being reunited with his love.
  • Sands of Time - Te One Tahua (21’49)
    When a family moves into a new home, the two children find themselves haunted by the spirits of two doomed lovers.
  • Heirloom - Te Kura (21’55)
    Jonathan is a talented craftsman who, together with his scheming girlfriend, buys Māori artifacts at auction under the pretense of repatriating them. But Jonathan is in for a surprise when he tries to copy a beautiful whalebone patu and the patu shows its power.
  • The God Child - Tipua
    There are consequences for a young woman who uses her psychic powers for criminal gain.
Season Three
  • The Wild Ones - Uru Takariri
    When three young thugs hide in the forest for safety after a bank heist, they find themselves in more danger than they planned.
  • The Tree - Te Rakau
    When Renee and Daniel move into their dream home, they are desperate to furnish that dream with a baby. Despite being on a pregnancy plan, all attempts to conceive are fruitless leaving Renee even more determined.
  • Tears - Taneiwai
    When Joanna inherits a suspicious boulder of green stone from an unknown relative, weird things begin to occur in her life.
  • The Chosen Ones - Urutapu
    Four friends meet again after 20 years to recount a traumatic experience from their childhood past. It is a meeting which leads them to make a huge sacrifice for the future of mankind.
  • The Photo - Te Whakaahua
    A photo is responsible for stealing people's life force.
  • Revelation - Whakakitenga
    A man fights a tribal decision to allow 1080 to be dropped on their land.
  • The Prisoner - Mauhere

Shifting Māori Stereotypes (_The_Big_Idea)
Are Māori filmmakers guilty of perpetuating stereotypes of Māori characters? The guitar-playing Billy T James, the violence of Jake the Muss … do these stereotypical characters define Māori in today’s writing, or can they serve to highlight truths and move us beyond the world we think we know?
If you need to see this on DVD, Worldcat is your friend:

If you’re in New Zealand, the Lightbox streaming service has you covered.
posted by Start with Dessert (7 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite
Jus watched The Sisters! I really love this kind of spooky story. Great post!
posted by Malla at 7:05 AM on December 8, 2017

This is the sort of thing that I LOVE (we are doing an X-Files rewatch in my house) so I'm going to dig in. Thanks!!!
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:16 AM on December 8, 2017

No school today. Snow. So why not?
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:57 AM on December 8, 2017

Yussss! Thanks for sharing this, it's added to my queue of weird things to watch, alongside Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (Wikipedia -- not sure if you can find much online anywhere besides Crunchyroll).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:03 AM on December 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I can't believe I didn't think to post this at Halloween. Better late than never.

To be fair, it's more Twilight Zone than X-Files as each episode is self-contained and there is no narrative through line across the series. It's an anthology series.

Incidentally, in case you wanted to see an example of Temuera Morrison's introductions there's one here.
posted by Start with Dessert at 5:59 PM on December 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

These are fantastic! Thank you for posting!
posted by Feyala at 8:18 PM on December 10, 2017

So, after some looking, it appears that Season Three is not commercially available anywhere. This is a result of the first two seasons being produced by TV3 and the third season being produced by TVNZ.

The DVD covers the first two seasons, as does Lightbox. For the truly dedicated, they appear to be stored at the NZ film archives but aren't otherwise available.
posted by Start with Dessert at 2:08 AM on December 26, 2017

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