On returning to his marae, Mana finds conflict between traditional values and contemporary reality.
Born and raised in the city, Mana takes leave from his middle management job to seek his cultural roots and Maori identity by immersing himself in the ways of his rural tribe. He soon learns that being tangata whenua (people of the land) involves the constant burying of the dead. Despite his constant questioning of the ‘old ways’ and his attempts to update traditional systems, Mana is tolerated by the local community as the ‘townie’ or ‘city slicker’.
When a family member commits suicide, Mana stands apart from the rest of the community in a stand-off conflict between traditional Maori values and contemporary Maori reality. The resolution evolves from a spiritual phenomenon that forces both sides to find a meeting place.
Mananui is a story of conflict with the universal theme of old versus new, generation versus generation, and the philosophical battle between the traditional and the contemporary.