TVNZ focused on contemporary urban issues in New Streets as a counterpoint to its epic Landmarks documentary series which charted NZ’s historical development. Over three episodes, Neil Roberts examined the rapid growth of South Auckland, the spotlight was placed on an arts employment scheme for disadvantaged Mangere youth, and writer Albert Wendt provided a personal perspective on how the traditional values of his Samoan community were coping with Auckland’s urban pressures. New Streets screened in Lookout, TV1’s early 80s local documentary slot.
Reporter Neil Roberts ventures into South Auckland in this TVNZ doco and finds two rapidly growing but very different communities. Otara and Mangere are becoming NZ’s industrial powerhouse, but a huge influx of Māori and Pacific Island workers and their families are struggling to adapt in a brand new city that was farmland just decades earlier and lacks amenities for its new citizens. Meanwhile, to the east, Howick and Pakuranga are also booming but their more upwardly mobile, prosperous and very Pākehā citizens seem to be living in a world of their own.