In South Auckland, New Zealand, Mannie and his wife, Jo, have finally achieved stability. Mannie's successful job as a carpenter gives the couple hopes for a future home and children. But it's all about to come tumbling down.
When Wall Street crashes in 2005, the New Zealand economy plunges into a recession. Mannie loses his job and is forced to apply for the unemployment benefit to survive. Worse, he and Jo must take in boarders in order to make the rent. But Mannie soon sees his misfortune as an opportunity to reclaim land in the Tongariro National Park that belonged to his Maori tribe more than one hundred years ago.
Mannie persuades a small, disillusioned group of young Maori into claiming sovereignty over a small block of land on the side of a mountain, offering freedom and peace in protest against the government. They build huts and live off the land. Mannie and Jo try to find their former happiness, but then tragedy strikes, and Mannie suddenly finds himself in a deadly game of survival.