London, 1889. The captain of the worn-out New Zealand Natives rugby team must inspire his side to play, or risk forfeiting the test match against England.
DIRECTORS’ NOTES - Meihana Durie
“This film is based on the true story of Joe Warbrick and the 1888 New Zealand Natives rugby tour of Great Britain. It is a little known yet fascinating account of triumph over adversity. As more clues about the way in which Joe Warbrick lived his life were uncovered, it became increasingly apparent that the medium of film would provide a precious opportunity to explore the deeper more salient aspects of his extraordinary journey. With the blessings of the Warbrick family we have sought to make a film that provides a snapshot in to the accomplished life yet tragic and untimely death of a remarkable man. Selfless, brave, compassionate yet determined. These qualities were the hallmark of Joe Warbrick, qualities which would remain with him right up until his death in 1903.
Away from home for almost two years, Joe and his team would encounter hostility and hardship throughout the 18-month tour. Despite this they attempted to play every game on the itinerary in order to successfully meet their obligations. We have often asked ourselves what the motivation might have been for Joe Warbrick and his men to keep going. What was the reason for undertaking such a challenging and demanding tour? Why did the Natives play on in spite of their deteriorating condition? The fact that Joe Warbrick died attempting to save the lives of others is perhaps in itself the best testament to the endearing qualities of this leader. It is our sincere hope that the achievements of Joe Warbrick and the New Zealand Natives might now be afforded greater recognition.”