It is 1821 and adventuring seafarer Philip Wayne (Jack Hawkins) and Paddy Clarke (Noel Purcell) have set ashore to explore the Bay of Plenty. Stumbling upon a Maori burial cave, they are captured and sentenced to death by the Maori for desecrating the resting place of their ancestors. Wayne's prowess impresses the Maori chief, Hongi Tepe (Inia Te Wiata), and he offers Wayne a chance to save his life by enduring a trial by challenge. When Wayne succeeds the chief adopts him as his honorary son. After Wayne returns to England he decides to return to the Pacific with his new wife Marion (Glynis Johns) and a crew that includes the sexually charged Wishart (Kenneth Williams). With a tense standoff emerging between the indigenous Maoris and the colonial British, the situation worsens when the beautiful Maori girl Moana (Laya Raki) rejects the advances of Wishart. Famous for being the first ever colour film to be made in New Zealand, this Rank 1954 feature is overflowing with beautiful scenery, colour and set pieces.