Jake Te-moana is a broke outer city hustler who gambles, smokes and sells his home brew moonshine out of a shed on the back of his Uncle Perrie’s Putiki farm. Harsh economic times have caused major financial difficulties for Perrie on the farm and he faces foreclosure if he cant pay his debt owing. Jake thinks he has a plan. One evening partying with the boys at the banks of the Wanganui river, Jake stumbles upon what appears to be an ancient Maori amulet while clumsily trying to romance Jane Baron, a pakeha hair dresser from the city.
Meanwhile Jake's Grandmother, known to the locals as Old Tess, has a frightening vision and suddenly falls ill. Tortured by an aged body and the loss of her husband, Tess is plagued by dementia but no one can account for her abrupt sickness. The event reunites Tess’s family and friends for the first time in many years bringing old trouble back to Putiki including Tama a hardcore Maori rights activist.
Tama eventually discovers Jake’s found amulet and identifies it as sacred and dangerous. He believes the uncovering of the amulet and the sudden illness of Old Tess are no coincidence. Driven by his radical beliefs Tama and his following, demand spiritual justice by a return of the amulet to its rightful holding ground but Jake, a non believer, has other ideas of selling the amulet to a wealthy collector, Jane’s father, in order to pay his Uncles debt. Meanwhile affection develops between Jake and Jane causing racial controversy between both families.
On the eve of his Grandmothers impending demise, a journey of self realisation pushes Jake to make crucial decisions on his late spiritual and ethical dilemmas.