This exploitational docudrama is set among the Maori tribespersons of New Zealand. Producer Alexander Markey concentrates on the more lurid details of Maori customs and superstitions, at one point suggesting that an obviously staged death is the genuine article. The plot concerns a long-standing feud between two tribal chiefs, and the Romeo-and-Juliet romance between a young prince and a virginal sacrifice victim-to-be. Despite generous applications of a "love charm" called Hei Tiki, war breaks out between the two factions and the poor girl is scheduled to give up her life as the "bride of Manui." For all of its melodrama, Hei Tiki might have been even more effective as a straight documentary.
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