The Tribe (1999 TV series)

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The Tribe
Created by
Theme music composer
Opening theme
  • "The Dream Must Stay Alive"
  • Rosalind J (series 1)
  • Meryl Cassie (series 2–5)
Ending theme
  • "The Dream Must Stay Alive"
  • Rosalind J (series 1)
  • "Abe Messiah"
  • Tribe cast (series 2–3)
  • "Tribe Spirit"
  • Tribe Sister (series 4–5)
Country of origin
Original languageEnglish
No. of series5
No. of episodes260 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Declan Eames
  • Debra Kelleher-Smith
Production locationsWellington Region, New Zealand
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time25 minutes
Production companyCloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group
DistributorCumulus Distribution
Original networkChannel 5
Original release24 April 1999 (1999-04-24) –
6 September 2003 (2003-09-06)
Followed byThe New Tomorrow
External links
Production website

The Tribe is a science fiction drama television series which premiered on Channel 5 in the United Kingdom on 24 April 1999. The series was created by Raymond Thompson and Harry Duffin, and was developed and produced by the Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group in New Zealand. The series was commissioned by Channel 5, who received the initial screening rights. The series made its New Zealand premiere in 2000 on TV4.

Primarily aimed at teenagers, The Tribe is set in a post-apocalyptic city in which all adults have been killed as the result of an unknown virus. The series focuses on the remaining children and teenagers who must navigate the social and personal issues of adolescence, while being faced with the larger problems of a society in a state of anarchy. The inhabitants of the city form social groups, or tribes, with the focus of the series on the Mall Rats, who fight to survive among other threatening tribes such as the Locos. Overarching themes include the focus on change from tradition, empowerment, religion, and the exploration of power and corruption. The series was filmed in Wellington, New Zealand.

The series ran for 260 episodes and aired its finale on 6 September 2003. A sequel series entitled The New Tomorrow was commissioned by Channel 5 and the Seven Network in Australia and first aired in 2005. It depicted the descendants of characters from The Tribe and was aimed at a younger audience. The Tribe experienced a resurgence in popularity after screening on ABC3 in Australia in 2009. This led to Cloud 9 developing a series of novels to continue the story of the television series, the first of which was released in 2011.


SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
15224 April 1999 (1999-04-24)23 October 1999 (1999-10-23)
25214 November 1999 (1999-11-14)6 May 2000 (2000-05-06)
35218 November 2000 (2000-11-18)11 May 2001 (2001-05-11)
4525 January 2002 (2002-01-05)6 July 2002 (2002-07-06)
55215 March 2003 (2003-03-15)6 September 2003 (2003-09-06)

Series 1[edit]

In a post-apocalyptic city, all of the adults have been killed as a result of an unknown virus, leaving the children and teenagers to survive in a state of anarchy. Several social groups, or tribes, have formed, including the "Locos", an unruly tribe controlling the city under the leadership of Zoot, who is later killed. On the streets, Amber and Dal lead a group of children to safety and take refuge in an abandoned shopping mall, forming a new tribe called the "Mall Rats". They are joined by Bray and Trudy, who is pregnant; Bray's brother, Zoot, is the father. The tribe learns to solve issues including food and water shortage. A second wave of the virus strikes the city, and the tribe searches to find a cure.

Series 2[edit]

At Eagle Mountain, Amber and Zandra, who is pregnant, are killed in an explosion. The tribe continues searching for an antidote to the virus and are successful, with Tai-San becoming the only one aware of the formula to produce it. Under Bray's leadership, the Mall Rats use their position of power to unite the other tribes and bring peace to the city. A bill of rights is developed by Danni, along with a trading market in the mall, and a newsletter by Ellie detailing the city's progress. The virus is later diminished, and a new tribe called the "Chosen" surfaces, worshipping Zoot as their god.

Series 3[edit]

The Chosen take control of the city, led by the Guardian and the "Supreme Mother", who is a brainwashed Trudy. The Mall Rats are captured and, along with other prisoners of the city, are given the choice to join the Chosen or work as slaves, with many civilians being sent away due to rebellion. After escaping, Ebony and Lex encounter the Eco tribe and discover that its leader is Amber, whose death had been faked by Ebony. The Eco tribe join the revolt and the remaining Mall Rats recruit other tribes to their side. The Chosen are overthrown, and Ebony is elected as city leader; she banishes Bray and Amber when they refuse to let her execute the Guardian.

Series 4[edit]

The city is invaded and conquered by a group of paratroopers, who are called the "Technos" and possess advanced technology. Ebony maintains control of the city through a deal with the Technos general, Jay. After Bray is captured, Trudy helps Amber give birth on the outskirts of town. They flee to the Ecos, then later rejoin the Mall Rats. In an attempt to create a utopia, the leader of the Technos, Ram, releases a virtual game to which the people of the city become addicted. Ebony and Jay betray Ram and escape the city. The Mall Rats defeat Ram by imprisoning him in a virtual reality, with the assistance of Ram's lieutenant, Mega.

Series 5[edit]

Mega becomes the new leader of the Technos, and plans to take over the city. He orders everyone to be branded with a barcode and set to manual labour. Ebony is manipulated by virtual reality to believe that Zoot is alive. The Mall Rats try to learn the location of their members who were removed by the Technos. Ram is rescued by a vagabond, Slade, who takes him to the country town Liberty. Amber and Jay lead an attack against the city, capturing Mega. Ram infiltrates Mega's technology and creates an artificial intelligence program, which goes rogue and releases a new virus. The Mall Rats and their allies evacuate the city by boat.


Character Actor Series
1 2 3 4 5
Bray Dwayne Cameron Main Does not appear
Amber[a] Beth Allen Main Does not appear Main[b]
Lex Caleb Ross[1] Main
Zandra Amy Morrison Main Does not appear
Ryan Ryan Runciman Main[c] Does not appear
Dal Ashwath Sundarasen Main Recurring[d] Does not appear
Salene Victoria Spence Main[e]
Jack Michael Wesley-Smith Main Recurring[f] Main
Paul Zachary Best Main[g] Does not appear
Patsy Sarah Major Main Recurring[h] Does not appear
Cloe Jaimee Kaire-Gataulu Main Recurring[i] Main[j] Does not appear
Trudy Antonia Prebble Main
Zoot Daniel James[k] Main[l] Guest Recurring
Tai-San Michelle Ang Main[m] Guest Does not appear
KC Ari Boyland Main[n] Does not appear Guest
Ebony Meryl Cassie Recurring Main
Danni Ella Wilks Does not appear Main Does not appear
Ellie Jennyfer Jewell Does not appear Main Recurring[o] Main
Alice Vanessa Stacey Guest Main Does not appear Guest
May Laura Wilson Does not appear Recurring Main Recurring[p] Main
Pride Nick Miller Does not appear Main Recurring[q]
The Guardian Damon Andrews Does not appear Recurring Main Does not appear Guest
Lt Luke Jacob Tomuri Does not appear Main Does not appear
Ned Bevin Linkhorn Does not appear Main[r][s] Does not appear
Tally Amelia Reynolds Does not appear Main[r] Does not appear
Andy James Ordish Does not appear Main[r] Does not appear
Dee Kelly Stevenson Does not appear Main Does not appear
Ram Tom Hern Does not appear Main
Jay James Napier Does not appear Main
Ved Dan Weekes-Hannah Does not appear Main[t] Does not appear
Java Megan Alatini Does not appear Main[u]
Siva Monique Cassie Does not appear Main[u]
Mouse Jacinta Wawatai Does not appear Main[v]
Sammy Lucas Hayward Does not appear Main[w]
Patch Morgan Palmer Hubbard Does not appear Main[x] Does not appear
Mega Calen Maiava-Paris Does not appear Recurring[y] Main
Slade Matt Robinson Does not appear Main
Ruby Fleur Saville Does not appear Main
Gel Vicky Rodewyk Does not appear Main[z]
Zoot's double / Darryl Joseph Crawford Does not appear Main[aa]
Lottie[ab] Beth Chote Does not appear Main[ac]


  1. ^ Credited as "Eagle / Amber" or "Amber / Eagle" in all series 3 appearances.
  2. ^ Beth Allen is again credited as main cast starting with the fifth episode of series ;3.
  3. ^ Ryan Runciman is last credited as main cast in the twenty-fourth episode of series 3.
  4. ^ Ashwath Sundarasen is only credited for the first twelve episodes of series 3.
  5. ^ Victoria Spence is not credited for the last eight episodes of series 3.
  6. ^ Michael Wesley-Smith is only credited for ten episodes throughout series 3, and is only credited for the first seven episodes of series 4.
  7. ^ Zachary Best is credited as main cast through the first twenty episodes of series 1.
  8. ^ Sarah Major is only credited for the first eighteen episodes of series 3.
  9. ^ Jaimee Kaire-Gataulu is only credited for the first twelve episodes of series 3.
  10. ^ Jaimee Kaire-Gataulu is last credited as main cast in the thirty-fifth episode of series 4.
  11. ^ Credited as "Danny James", starting with series 3.
  12. ^ Daniel James is only credited as main cast through the first eight episodes of series 1.
  13. ^ Michelle Ang is first credited as main cast in the fifteenth episode of series 1.
  14. ^ Ari Boyland is first credited as main cast in the twenty-second episode of series 1.
  15. ^ Jennyfer Jewell is only credited for the first thirteen episodes of series 4.
  16. ^ Laura Wilson is only credited for the last eighteen episodes of series 4.
  17. ^ Nick Miller is credited for the first four, and the seventh and eighth, episodes of series 5.
  18. ^ a b c First credited as main cast in the eighteenth episode of series 3.
  19. ^ Bevin Linkhorn is last credited as main cast in the forty-eighth episode of series 3.
  20. ^ Dan Weekes-Hannah is last credited as main cast in the forty-sixth episode of series 4.
  21. ^ a b Last credited as main cast in the forty-second episode of series 5.
  22. ^ Jacinta Wawatai is last credited as main cast in the twenty-sixth episode of series 5.
  23. ^ Lucas Hayward is first credited as main cast in the nineteenth episode of series 4.
  24. ^ Morgan Palmer Hubbard is first credited as main cast in the twenty-eighth episode of series 4.
  25. ^ After appearing as a guest star in the forty-first episode, Calen Maiava-Paris is first credited as regular cast in the forty-sixth episode of series 4.
  26. ^ Vicky Rodewyk is first credited as main cast in the third episode of series 5.
  27. ^ Joseph Crawford is first credited as main cast in the eighth episode of series 5.
  28. ^ Credited as "Urchin" in the eighth episode of series 5.
  29. ^ Beth Chote is first credited as main cast, as Lottie, in the thirty-third episode of series 5.



"Our aim was to accurately reflect the world that viewers inhabit in a fictional environment through which we could explore everyday issues and experiences."

—Raymond Thompson, 2003[2]

Discussion which led to the creation of the series began when Raymond Thompson, co-founder of the independent production company Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group, known for his work as a screenwriter on the soap Howards' Way, was approached by Nick Wilson of Channel 5 to "develop a soap for the millennium, targeting a child/adolescent market".[3] Thompson recalled an idea that he had in the 1980s about a world without adults, run by tribes of children and teenagers. Having already worked with writer Harry Duffin on several occasions, Thompson contacted him in November 1997 to work with him on further developing the concept for Cloud 9. They commissioned and recruited a team of ten writers to adapt the storylines and by July 1998 the first four scripts of The Tribe were finished.[3]

Pre-production for series one started in June 1998 and filming began in August 1998. Principal photography was completed in March 1999[4][5] and the first episode premiered on Channel 5 on 24 April 1999.[6]


The cast and crew amounted to between 400 and 500 people on each series of The Tribe. Filming of each series took about four to six months, chiefly in two studios at Cloud 9's production centre in Wellington, New Zealand. The permanent set of the "Phoenix Shopping Mall" was located in Studio A. This large set took five weeks to build prior to the commencement of principal photography and was said to be the largest set built for a production in New Zealand at the time.[7] All of the shops contained in the Mall were built to almost realistic shop size specifications and designed to last for a long time.

The set of the "Phoenix Shopping Mall" in series one.

Studio B housed the sewers that the Mall Rats use to secretly escape the Mall, as well as temporary structures that were built for scenes outside the Mall. Between the filming of the second and third series of The Tribe, the Mall set was repainted and redressed for use on another Cloud 9 production, Atlantis High.[8]

Scenes of The Tribe were also shot on location in and around Wellington. For example, the Cloud 9 Studios car park was used as the exterior of the Mall and Alice's and Ellie's farmhouse was built in the rural area of Whitemans Valley in Upper Hutt.[9] At times, over some weekends, the crew closed off Wellington streets to shoot scenes that took place in the desolate city streets.[10]


Most of the cast had agents prior to the casting in 1998, as they had already worked on productions that were filmed in New Zealand, such as Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys or Mirror, Mirror II.

Many of the actors had worked with Thompson on other Cloud 9 productions before they auditioned for The Tribe. Jennyfer Jewell (Ellie) and Ryan Runciman (Ryan) had worked on The Enid Blyton Adventure Series in 1996 and Jewell had also starred in The Enid Blyton Secret Series in 1997 alongside Daniel James (Zoot). Beth Allen (Amber) and Michael Wesley-Smith (Jack) had been cast in The Legend of William Tell in 1998. Many cast members from series one had acted in William Shatner's A Twist in the Tale in 1999.

The majority of the actors cast in series one were students and were tutored between scenes at Cloud 9's production centre.[11] The underage cast members stayed in the "Cast House" for the duration of the shoot and were accompanied by chaperones on set.[12]


Pre-production for series six started in September 2003[13] and a script for a Tribe movie was written and put on the market.[14] The scripts for the first two episodes of series six were included on the Series 5 DVD box set (released in 2006), and told the story of the Mall Rats as they arrived on an unknown island.[citation needed]

However, Nick Wilson and Thompson decided that although "the show was still performing well, [they] felt that the cast was getting too old [and that] it was beginning to stretch the core proposition."[15][16] Some of the cast and crew members went on to work on other productions.



Series one of The Tribe premiered in the United Kingdom on 24 April 1999 on Five.[17] The final two episodes of The Tribe were shown on 6 September 2003 on Five.[18]

The Tribe began airing in New Zealand in 2000 on TV4.[19]

In the United States, The Tribe premiered on 1 December 1999 on Encore WAM! Channel.[20] WAM! remained the program's exclusive US broadcaster throughout its run.[21]

In Australia, The Tribe returned to television through its broadcast on ABC3 in 2010.[22][23] The third series was aired due to popular audience demand and the program was repeated until 2012.[23][24][25]

Home media and streaming services[edit]

Series one was first released in 2003 by Sanctuary Entertainment. Two years later, Revelation Films purchased the rights to the show and released all five series throughout 2006.[citation needed]

The first series of The Tribe was released on DVD in Australia by the ABC on 3 March 2011 after airing on ABC3.[22] Dwayne Cameron appeared at promotional release events.[22]

In 2012, Shout! Factory released the first series of The Tribe in the US through two volumes.[26] Questar Entertainment released the first volume in a region-free format in 2018.[27][28]

All five seasons of the program were released to Vimeo in 2018.[29] They were also made available on the New Zealand video-on-demand service Lightbox.[30]

Sequel and other potential followups[edit]

During pre-production for the planned series six of The Tribe, Channel 5 and Cloud 9 created a sequel television series, The New Tomorrow.[31]

Twenty-six episodes were produced, which aired in 2005 on the Seven Network in Australia and on Five in the United Kingdom. The series was also filmed in Wellington, with twenty core cast and up to a hundred crew members, including a large number who had worked on Peter Jackson's's King Kong.[32] Many themes and storylines intended for The Tribe's series six were used and adapted for the new series. The New Tomorrow was aimed at a younger audience, 8- to 12-year-olds,[15] but followed the same theme of children creating a new world without the adults.[33] It was set further in the future and followed the story of four Tribes: the Ants, the Barbs, the Privileged and the Discards.[34]

Thompson mentioned in October 2013 that a potential Tribe motion picture and a television sequel were in development but no other sources have confirmed this information.[35]

Other media[edit]


Several books based on the series were published in English:[36]

  • Paula Boock (17 September 2000). Power and Chaos. Auckland, New Zealand: Random House. ISBN 1-86941-435-7.
  • Ken Catran (2001). Mall Rats. Auckland, New Zealand: Random House. ISBN 1-86941-471-3.
  • Harry Duffin (25 November 2012). The Tribe: Birth of the Mall Rats. Martinborough, New Zealand: Cumulus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0473231491.

In addition, three novels that serve as sequels to and a continuation of the story from the television series have been published:

  • A. J. Penn (25 November 2011). The Tribe: A New World. Auckland, New Zealand: Cumulus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0-473-19938-8.
  • A. J. Penn (30 November 2014). The Tribe: A New Dawn. Auckland, New Zealand: Cumulus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0-473-30794-3.
  • A. J. Penn (5 November 2019). The Tribe: R(Evolution). Auckland, New Zealand: Cumulus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0-473-50125-9.

Several books related to The Tribe have also been published in German.[37]

  • Ralph Sander (January 2002). The Tribe: Zwischen Hoffen und Bangen (in German). Panini Verlags GmbH. ISBN 978-3897485983.
  • Ralph Sander (February 2002). The Tribe: Schöne Neue Welt (in German). Panini Verlags GmbH. ISBN 978-3897485976.
  • Ralph Sander; Linda Jansen (September 2002). The Tribe: Das Zeitalter der Auserwählten (in German). Panini Verlags GmbH. ISBN 978-3897486676.
  • Ralph Sander; Linda Jansen (November 2002). The Tribe: Der Weg in die Freiheit (in German). Panini Verlags GmbH. ISBN 978-3897486676.
  • Ralph Sander; Linda Jansen (March 2003). The Tribe: Die Ankunft der Technos (in German). Panini Verlags GmbH. ISBN 978-3897487284.
  • Ralph Sander; Linda Jansen (March 2003). The Tribe: Verloren im Paradies (in German). Panini Verlags GmbH. ISBN 978-3897487291.


Two CDs were released, featuring music from the soundtrack of the television series and songs recorded by the cast. Abe Messiah was released on 7 November 2000 in New Zealand and on 19 March 2001 worldwide.[citation needed][38] A reissued version of the album, entitled Abe Messiah: Remix, was released in Germany in 2003. It also featured three music videos: "Abe Messiah", "You Belong to Me" and "This Is the Place".[39]


  1. ^ Louise Cleave (1 July 2000). "A quick word: Caleb Ross of The Tribe". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  2. ^ Carter, Meg (18 August 2003). "The future of learning?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b Interview with the Creators of The Tribe—Raymond Thompson and Harry Duffin, The Tribe Official Website. Retrieved 27 May 2008.
  4. ^ Cloud 9 – History, Cloud 9 Official Site. Retrieved 7 October 2008
  5. ^ Trivia, The Tribe Official Website. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
  6. ^ Episode 101 Air Date, Website. Retrieved 7 October 2008
  7. ^ Grant, Frances (24 August 1999). "A New Tribe on the Block". The New Zealand Herald. Auckland, New Zealand.
  8. ^ Art and Design Department, The Tribe Official Website. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  9. ^ Location Shooting, The Tribe Official Website. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  10. ^ Tribe Trivia 34: Locations, The Tribe Official Website. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  11. ^ Location Report from Production of Tribe Series 2 – Week 2, The Tribe Official Website. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  12. ^ Life in the Cast House for the Tribe – Interview with House Mother Saranne James, The Tribe Official Website. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  13. ^ News: 15 September 2003, The Tribe Official Website. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  14. ^ News: 3 December 2003, The Tribe Official Website. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  15. ^ a b "New Day Dawns on Cloud 9's Tribe Franchise". TBI Kids' Briefing. 20 May 2005.
  16. ^ "Cloud 9 to Produce Sequel Series to The Tribe". New York City: World Screen Newsflash. 22 March 2005.
  17. ^ "Episode 101 Air Date". Website. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
  18. ^ "Episodes 551–552 Air Date". Website. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
  19. ^ "TV: Local sci-fi series hits TV4". The New Zealand Herald. 30 June 2000. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  20. ^ "News:6 December 1999". The Tribe Official Site. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  21. ^ "WAM! Premieres 'The Tribe' Season Five in Labor Day Marathon". Englewood, Colorado. PR Newswire. 2 August 2004. Archived from the original on 8 January 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  22. ^ a b c "The Tribe Series 1". 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  23. ^ a b Yeap, Sue (5 July 2010). "ABC treats for the kids". The West Australian. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  24. ^ "The Tribe Series Final". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 23 June 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  25. ^ "The Tribe". 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  26. ^ "The Tribe Series 1 Part 1 DVD". Shout! Factory. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  27. ^ "Region Free Set". 30 October 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  28. ^ "The Tribe - Season 1 - Episodes 1-26 DVD 3 pk". 26 October 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  29. ^ "Watch The Tribe". Tribe World. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  30. ^ "The Tribe now available on Lightbox!". Tribe World. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  31. ^ "News: 6 December 2004". The Tribe Official Website. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  32. ^ Gorrie, Andrew (7 June 2005). "All Caught Up in a New Tomorrow". The Dominion Post. Wellington, New Zealand.
  33. ^ "The New Tomorrow". Wellington, New Zealand: The Hutt News. 21 June 2005.
  34. ^ "Kids TV: The New Tomorrow". Radio Times. October 2005.
  35. ^ "Tribe News Update June 2013". The Tribe Official Website. 1 June 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  36. ^ "The Tribe books in English". Tribeworld: The Tribe official site. Cloud 9 Ltd. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  37. ^ "The Tribe books in German". Tribeworld: The Tribe official Site. Cloud 9 Ltd. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  38. ^ Tribe Collectables: Abe Messiah, The Tribe Official Website. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  39. ^ The Tribe CD infos, Tribe heaven Website. Retrieved 29 May 2008

External links[edit]