Friday, May 17, 2013

Children of Fire Mountain - DVD Series Review

During the recent school holidays it rained, rained, and oh yes rained, so we borrowed the DVDs "Children of Fire Mountain" from our local library. COFM is a 13 part mini-series that was made in New Zealand in 1979. Apparently this was shown after school and adults today recall rushing home from school to watch the next episode. It also won some awards.

It's about a group of children living in a thermal area in New Zealand and is a period piece set around 1900.

Sir Charles Pemberton who has crippling arthritis and on the advice of his doctor comes over from the UK with his Grand-daughter, Sarah Jane to take the baths. The baths cures his ailment so he has the idea to build a huge hotel (health spa) on some Maori land which greatly displeases the local Maori as the land is tapu (sacred).

Local children, Tom (the son of the hotel owner where the Pembertons are staying), Davie, Hemi and Kiri iinitially do not like prim and proper Sarah Jane. Tom says not long after meeting her, "What I have I done to deserve all this - I’ve had better days at school!" but once they scare off her governess (and tutor) young Tom starts to feel a little sorry for Sarah Jane and they end up great friends and she is admitted to their wee gang once she takes on an initiation test to test her bravery.

There's an Irish villain, Doomey Dwyer (who runs illegal stills) that the children are trying to catch, some local Maori foretell of a catastrophe due to Sir Charles intentions and a volcanic eruption.

Sarah Jane has some eerie experiences, she sees a waka taua (war canoe) travelling across the lake which no-one else see and she starts to realises that her grandfather needs to return the deed to the land before a major catastrophe takes place.

My girls LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this series.They could not get enough of it. I personally thought it was really sweet and an excellent representation of this period and the people in thermal NZ during this period. I would highly recommend this series for any young person wanting to learn more about NZ's history. Although I wouldn't limit it to young children as this old Mama enjoyed it just as much as the kids.

Here's a link to an excerpt from the first series on You Tube. The quality of the DVDs isn't great due to when the series was made but I think it sort of adds to the authenticity of the time.


  1. Lisa,

    I have ordered this DVD after reading your post! The girls can't wait for it to arrive. Thank you!

    1. I do hope they enjoy it as much as mine did. It is on the list to add to our personal library too. I thought of you when I wrote this review after reading on your blog that you were going to look at studying NZ. :)

      If you can think of anything along similar lines in regards to an Aussie series would love to hear of it.

    2. Lisa,

      Have you seen the Aussie series My Place? It goes back in history, 10 years at a time from present day to 'before time'. It's based on a book by Nadia Wheatley of the same name. There's a couple of websites about the series. My girls LOVED it! We borrowed the DVDs from the library but soon decided we wanted to own them. There are two volumes. Here's a link:

      I'll let you know how the girls enjoy Children of Fire Mountain. It might arrive tomorrow. Can't wait!

    3. Ooooooh that is so going into our Aussie project. Thanks it looks wonderful and the teachers notes etc too ... yeah!


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