The Lost Children: episode guide
New Zealand: 2006
1867. Ethan and Amy are travelling by coastal vessel with their mother Charlotte. They plan to join their father on their new farm in Canterbury. Charlotte pins a valuable brooch to Amy's jacket to calm her as the going gets rough. They encounter Meg on board — she's a young thief. The ship is struck by a storm, and the children are placed in a lifeboat which is washed away from the ship by a big wave.
The next morning we find Ethan alone on a wild deserted beach. He finds Meg, and together they look for any other survivors. They hide from a group of Maori looking for shell fish on the beach amongst which is Tane, a young slave. Meg and Ethan argue, and Meg goes off into the bush on her own in search of water.
Ethan sees Amy clinging to a rock offshore, and makes a raft to get her to the beach. He gets into a rip and Meg helps rescue them. As they rest on the beach they are watched by a sinister warrior — Ranginui.
New Zealand: ?
The three children leave the beach in search of water, having written a message for their mother written in the sand. They climb to a high vantage point where their hopes of a finding a nearby settlement are dashed. Meg is has her eye on the valuable jewelled brooch that she has seen pinned inside Amy's jacket.
The rest of the survivors have come ashore further down the coast. Charlotte persuades Frank and Harry to help search the nearby coast for her children. They are a couple of grifters that have been travelling with Meg. Frank has seen the brooch and sees Charlotte as a potential source of wealth.
Meg is abducted by Ranginui. Ethan and Amy argue over whether to go after her.
Charlotte with Frank and Harold arrive at the children's beach. The incoming tide has nearly obliterated the children's message. Frank finds what is left of it and makes sure Charlotte doesn't see it.
Meg is held prisoner in the camp of the travelling Maori warrior band, who are travelling to join a great warrior chief, Te Rangihau. Tane is assigned to watch over her. Ethan and Amy eventually find the camp. Ethan tries to rescue Meg but is thwarted. Next morning when Ethan and Amy awake the warriors and Meg have gone.
New Zealand: ?
Ethan and Amy chase after the Maori group. Meanwhile Meg tries enlist Tane's help to escape but he is wary of her. As the other members of the group argue over Meg's fate, they are confronted by some armed militia and settler volunteers. Meg takes the opportunity to break free from Tane, and in the confusion a skirmish ensues. Meanwhile Ethan and Amy see the militia as being able to help them find their mother, but the militia aren't interested. Amy in her hunger eats some red berries that make her feel ill.
Ranginui is about to harm Meg but Tane decides he can't let that happen and helps Meg escape. Tane and Meg split up, and Meg makes her way to the militia camp and is reunited with Ethan and Amy. Tane is captured by the militia and held captive in the hope he will provide information as to the movements of the Maori warriors. Ethan, Meg and Amy free Tane and flee the camp after putting the berries into the militia's dinner.
The children decide to travel south together: Ethan and Amy to find their father, Tane to join his tribe. Meg doesn't reveal her motives but stealing the brooch is clearly one of them.
New Zealand: ?
The little band are making their way south when they realise they are being tracked by two of the militia. Thinking they have lost them they stop to take stock. Ethan and Amy decide they have to make their way south to where their father will be waiting for them. He needs the family money to pay for the farm. They realise the brooch is the only thing of value they have left. Tane's family are in the south island but he thinks the soft English children will slow him down. Meg seems to have no specific plans.
The militiamen suddenly reappear and the kids they take refuge in a cave, where they discover strange artefacts. They are confronted by a frightening tohunga. Tane tries to fight him but is outsmarted. The tohunga reveals himself to be friendly. Amy has dropped the brooch on the path outside the cave and the militia find it, and surprise the group in the cave.
The children discover that the tohunga is Te Rangihau, the legendary chief the Maori warriors were travelling to join. The militiamen capture Te Rangihau and Tane and take them away. Ethan and Amy race ahead of them, and engineer their escape. Te Rangihau leads the children through a secret network of caves to the other side of the mountain.
Meanwhile Frank is clearly on the children's trail, using a couple of Maori trackers. He has left Charlotte in a rough sailors' hangout.
New Zealand: ?
The children are getting on well and find time to play just as Frank and Harold catch up with them. We discover that Frank is Meg's uncle, and he expects her to steal the brooch for him. She is now having a conflict of loyalties and refuses. As the group approach a township, Meg tackles Frank and the children escape.
They take refuge in an orphanage but Frank finds them and masquerades as the ship's captain. He tells Mrs Brand (the orphanage owner) that the children are thieves. He takes the brooch and departs, having told Ethan and Amy that Meg is a liar and a thief, who only tagged along with them to steal the brooch. Ethan tries to escape but is locked away in a tiny cell. Tane, who wasn't permitted to enter the orphanage because he's Maori, sets off after Frank and Harold.
Charlotte is finding it tough going at the sailors' hangout, and has to manoeuvre her way out of a tense situation.
New Zealand: ?
At the orphanage, Ethan is still locked up, and Meg and Amy are put to work in the fields. They are worked hard by Doris (Mrs Brand's lumpy offsider) who neglects to feed them. Amy is still sore at Meg, as she has taken Frank's word that she only befriended them to steal the brooch. A childless couple the Watson's come looking to adopt one of the orphans and take a shine to Amy. Meg is befriended by Bridget, one of the orphan children, and enlists her help in an attempt to free Ethan and win back their friendship.
Tane locates Frank and Harold and retrieves the brooch. They pursue him and he escapes by jumping into a river — which they don't feel inclined to follow him into. Amy is taken away by the Watsons, but Tane spots her on his way back to the orphanage. Meg gets to Ethan but is betrayed by Bridget, and she is thrown in with Ethan.
Meg is put to work cleaning, but outwits Doris and helps Ethan escape. Tane rejoins them and together they locate Amy and she runs out on her new parents. Meg apologises for lying to the others but Ethan can't forgive her.
New Zealand: ?
Ethan and Amy don't want to travel any further with Meg, so she decides she has nothing to lose and steals the brooch and heads off on her own. Ethan, Amy and Tane are travelling south on the wide beaches approaching Wellington. They become involved with an English botanist, Wilkes. He is collecting samples of 'new' species of plants to take back to the British Museum. Ethan is very impressed.
Meg finds her father working in a prison gang and he uses her presence as a diversion to escape. Initially Meg loves being on the run with Reg but he is impatient with her. She shows him the brooch and he takes it for himself. They meet a group felling bush, and Reg gambles the brooch in a card game. Meanwhile Ethan and Tane discover that Wilkes is carrying Maori shrunken heads. Tane is appalled and wants them taken back to their tribe. Ethan can't see what the fuss is. He wants to push on, while Tane stays back to try to recover the heads. Charlotte arrives in Wellington where Frank intercepts a letter meant for her, telling of her husband having struck gold in the South Island.
Ethan and Amy meet up with Meg and Reg at a river crossing, and are caught there by two cops pursuing Reg. Meg steals the brooch back and swears her loyalty to Ethan and Amy. Tane catches up with them, now with the heads and pursued by Wilkes, who is revealed not to be the nice guy Ethan thought he was. He threatens Tane with a pistol and as Ethan jumps to defend him he is shot in the shoulder. They escape and Tane returns the heads to a tribe member on the beach.
New Zealand: ?
Resolving to stay away from populated areas the children come across an apparently deserted township. Ethan's wound is slowing him down and they decide to rest up. They cook their first big meal in a while, and Amy discovers a ouija board, which they use to ask why the spooky little hamlet is deserted.
A storm lashes the small cottage. Ethan's wound becomes infected and in a fever he has a vision of a woman in a white wedding dress walking in the storm outside. Suddenly she is all very real (Rose) and she confronts the children who are in her home. Ethan makes a grand entrance and faints, shifting her attention to his illness. She tells them that a deadly fever is the reason that the townsfolk left but she is waiting for her husband to return. The children use the ouija board to try and make contact with their mother but find Rose's husband instead. Tane discovers his body and Rose has to face the reality of his death.
With: Nikki MacDonnell as Rose
New Zealand: ?
The children arrive in Wellington and try to find passage across Cook Strait. They discover Frank and Harold drinking in the bar next to the wharf office, and run, losing their places on the boat. Ethan tries to report Frank and Harold to the local constabulary, but they turn on the children, having reports from the militia and orphanage about the children's earlier 'crimes', and the children are again on the run.
Charlotte is staying in a small church, grieving her lost children. Ethan enters the church and almost runs into Harold, who hides in the confessional. Ethan makes an emotional confession detailing the children's ordeal to the hidden Harold, who is troubled by hearing the results of his and Frank's misdeeds.
The children decide to steal the constabulary's boat to get across the straits, and Amy disguises herself as a boy to untie the boat. As she does Charlotte passes close by, unseen. Only when she is out on the water, leaving on a boat with Frank and Harold, does Amy finally catch sight of her, but it is too late to catch her. The kids steal the boat and push out into Cook Strait. Only Ethan believes Amy's story of seeing their mother.
With: Shane Bartle as Pastor, Errol Shand as Drunk, Todd Rippon as Chief Constable, Gavin Rutherford as Ferry Captain, Nick Gibbs as Constable
New Zealand: ?
Out in Cook Strait the children find a drunk man asleep under a sail in the boat. Unfortunately neither he, nor they, know how to sail properly. Ethan, pretending to know more than he actually does, takes charge. They make landfall at night. They wake next morning to find that the drunk has taken the boat and gone. Undeterred they head south, pleased to be in the South Island at last. After walking some distance they discover their own footprints — they are stranded on an island, and the mainland is across a narrow channel.
Meg and Tane find life on the island is not all bad — this causes conflict with Ethan and Amy, who are concerned about Charlotte being with Frank and Harold and want to keep moving. Tane and Ethan are also now competing for Meg's attention. Meanwhile it seems that there is another mysterious resident on the island with them, but after they discover a skeleton and are confronted with a massive Captain Cooker pig, Tane and Meg decide that Ethan is right — they help him complete the raft he's been building and leave the island.
Charlotte, Frank and Harold are in a hotel in Picton. Frank overhears the drunk guy from the boat talking about the children. To ensure that Charlotte doesn't get to hear this, because he has told her the children are dead, Frank takes the guy out and pushes him into a river.
With: Erroll Shand as Drunk
New Zealand: ?
The children finally set foot on the South Island. As they journey on they meet a young Italian couple, Marco and Caterina, whose wagon is stuck in the mud, mainly because it is transporting a church bell. She is heavily pregnant. The children help extricate the wagon but Caterina goes into labour. Tane's people live nearby, but he won't go to get help. We find out he has mixed feelings about returning home as his having been enslaved by another tribe is so shameful. Marco panics and Meg has to assist the wife with the birth of her baby.
As the wife and Meg recover after the birth the group are surrounded by Maori tribesmen. It turns out they are Tane's people. They travel to Tane's village, which has recently been burnt down by soldiers and the children are not entirely welcome. Tane however is welcomed in private by his mother. The 'romantic' tension between Ethan, Tane and Meg is further complicated when Meg realises that Tane is engaged to a girl in the tribe called Mahina. However real tension ensues when Ethan realises that there is a slave in the village. He and Tane argue.
In Picton, Charlotte discovers that Frank has been lying to her. When he threatens to harm her, Harold rescues her and they escape.
With: Antonia Prebble as Caterina, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer as Marco, Helen Pearse-Otene as Tama's Mother, Joe Dekkers-Reihana as Timoko, Wi Kuki Kaa as Tama's Gradfather, Jacinta Wawatai as Mahina
New Zealand: ?
Tane and the European children part on bad terms, because of their arguments over the slave. Ethan, Amy and Meg journey into the pass through the mountains. The weather turns bad and they are forced to spend the night in a cave. As they struggle on in bad weather, they discover footprints heading in the same direction. Initially afraid, there is a joyful sighting of Charlotte and Harold. But as Charlotte runs to embrace her children she slips onto a rock slide and ends up hanging precariously over a cliff face. The children and Harold are unable to rescue her until Tane and Hemana, the slave, arrive. With their help, Charlotte is rescued. The happily reunited group set off for Canterbury and the farm, unaware that Frank lies in wait there.
With: Tama Kirikiri as Hemana, Jacinta Wawatai as Mahina
New Zealand: ?
The children and Charlotte arrive at the farm where they are ambushed by Frank, who locks them in a back room. He takes Amy and goes out to meet their father, who is nearing the farm. When they manage to escape they race across the farm to find Frank kneeling over their father's prostrate body, still holding onto to the crying Amy. Harold takes the initiative and Frank fires, wounding Harold. As Frank flees the scene the children chase after him, intent on rescuing Amy. Frank nearly gets away on horseback but Ethan and Tane tackle him and rescue Amy. Frank escapes. The children's fears turn to joy when they discover their father is alive.
The children try to settle into life on the farm as Tane prepares to return home but one night Amy wakes to see Frank's face at the window. The children set out at night for the final confrontation with Frank. High on a cliff top Frank falls to his death and the children are finally safe in their new home — Meg too has been asked to stay — and they enjoy a last day together before Tane travels back to his people.
With: Paul McLaughlin as John Melville
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