TVNZ premiering new homegrown drama One Lane Bridge

Source: 1News

A brand new Kiwi murder mystery with a supernatural twist is set to premiere tonight in what has been dubbed New Zealand’s answer to hit British drama Broadchurch.

TVNZ1's One Lane Bridge follows a young Auckland police officer who reawakens his spiritual gift as he travels to Queenstown, after a farmer is found dead in a tight-knit farming town with a mysterious one-lane bridge at its centre.

Dominic Ona-Ariki stars as rookie cop Ariki Davis, who teams up with local veteran Stephen, played by Joel Tobeck, as the pair investigate the circumstances behind the murder.

"The story is a classic, southern farming murder mystery," Ona-Ariki told Seven Sharp. "He's challenged with a bit of spiritual identity as well, a little bit of spookiness."

Tobeck said Ariki's struggle as a matakite, or Māori prophet or visionary, will play a large role in the story.

"The Māori spiritual element is a big part for Ariki and in turn, it affects everybody else," he said. 

"To be able to use the story of indigenous people and actually putting it into primetime televison and explain it, that it exists, is very rare that it's being used in New Zealand storytelling," executive producer Phil Smith added.

Mr Smith said local dramas on offer over the past few years have been "very much chardonnay, Ponsonby Road, arguing about boyfriends and money.

"We were like, 'We've got to get out. We've got to get out into the country and show real characters in a different location.'"

The six-part series will also star Sara Wiseman (Rake, A Place to Call Home), Jared Turner (The Almighty Johnsons), Peter McCauley (Spartacus, The Light Between Oceans), Phoebe McKellar (Westside) and Dean O'Gorman (The Hobit, Trumbo).

One Lane Bridge premieres at 8.30pm tonight on TVNZ1 and OnDemand.