Spring, 1390. The chief’s youngest son, Tere, is now a man. He receives his Moko and is eligible to marry. He loves Haeata and to impress her, he performs his tribes’ Haka solo for her. This angers the tribe, who chastise Tere for insulting their war god and incurring the wrath of Whiro, the god of evil. To make amends, he goes hunting alone while his tribe sleeps.
Tere wanders into Tapu land and stumbles into a cave. He hits his head and passes out, unaware that he’s in an ancient burial site. When he wakes, Tere is not the same. He is Potangotango awaken with Utu and death is his motivation.
Potangotango returns to the Pa. The men are out searching for Tere. Potangotango slaughters anyone there, then waits. After a fierce struggle, the men overpower Potangotango, kill him and throw his body into the cave. A hasty banishing ceremony is performed to protect those left.
In 1973, the Jones family move into their new home, who know nothing of the land it’s built on.
Though Pakeha, they are well received by the younger members of the predominantly Maori town. Everyone is surprised at how quickly his wife begins to understand and speak Maori and her appreciation of the culture is encouraged. However, there is another side to her new-found “empathy”. She is possessed by Potangotango and his quest for Utu is re-ignited.
The children manage to escape in the family car, only to be pursued by Potangotango. No matter how fast they go, Potangotango keeps gaining. They turn to see Potangotango almost at the car and lose control. The car flashes past followed by Potangotango. There is a terrible crash and horrific screams…