Greenstone is an 8-part miniseries set in the beautiful South Pacific. It's a majestic tale of drama, love, mystery and the clashing of cultures. From a native perspective, it focuses on a ... See full summary »
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1  
1999  

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 Elyot Barlow (1999) 1 episode, 1999
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Greenstone is an 8-part miniseries set in the beautiful South Pacific. It's a majestic tale of drama, love, mystery and the clashing of cultures. From a native perspective, it focuses on a beautiful Maori princess and her desire for prosperity in an ever-changing world. The country is New Zealand, it's the early 1800's. English colonies were settling in the South Pacific. Trade routes were being set up and the South Seas were being charted. Australia had been firmly established and they were making their mark. But to the British Colony, the jewel in the crown was New Zealand. In their eyes, it was a new frontier full of unlimited riches. "Greenstone" follows the story of Marama and her love for an English Lord who abandons her for the sake of his status as she leaves to return to New Zealand with her father. Her struggles for self follow her country struggles for it's own identity. Marama had been promised at birth to another chief, but falls in love with Sir Geoffrey. She tells her ... Written by Jim Compton, Program Director, APTN and Lori Joyce

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Drama

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15 June 1999 (New Zealand)  »

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NZD 1,446,803 (estimated)
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Strange re-write of New Zealand history.
1 August 2007 | by See all my reviews

This drama series just didn't work for me at all. If you are trying to write historical drama, then your task is to dramatise historical events. If, however, you are trying to write historical fiction then you must set your fictional story against a genuine and well-researched historical background.

Greenstone, a cross-cultural love story supposedly set in 19th century New Zealand, followed neither of these basic rules and ended up losing the plot altogether.

The writers apparently wanted to write an "epic" story with a cast of easily-identifiable villains (arrogant, imperialist English) and victims/heroes (noble Maori, oppressed Irish) but shot themselves in the foot by inventing a false history of New Zealand to suit the story they wanted to tell. As a result, the story had no credibility.

I don't understand the writers' motives in doing this. Were they trying to invent a new history of New Zealand to suit a modern political agenda? Or could they simply not be bothered to research their subject properly? Whatever their motives, it didn't work. And a golden opportunity to create a truly believable historical TV drama about 19th Century New Zealand was lost.

That's a shame because New Zealand TV struggles to fund major drama series at the best of times. And a wasted opportunity like this doesn't help matters.


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