In July 2016 NZ On Screen launched the ‘Top 10 NZ Television Ads’ collection, and it would be fair to say these commercials dominated the year’s most viewed clips on the website. So below are the most viewed clips — for each month – to provide a wider retrospective of the year, and key events within it.
January was the month that the world lost David Bowie, after a battle with cancer. The Flight of the Conchords performing their epic tribute to the star on Pulp Comedy in 2000 was the month’s most viewed clip on NZ On Screen.
The passing of another talent, this time closer to home, resulted in Savage Honeymoon being February’s most watched title. Actor Sophia Hawthorne was remembered for her breakout role in the celluloid celebration of all things bogan.
Sadly, the most watched clip in March was also due to a death close to home: this time cricketing legend Martin Crowe. Paul Holmes talked to him and cousin Russell in 2006 – an interview in which Russell describes how it was growing up as “Martin Crowe’s cousin”.
In April we reflected on the classic Kiwi screen references contained in local blockbuster Hunt for the Wilderpeople, including Goodbye Pork Pie – the original Pork Pie trailer became April’s most viewed title.
With a run of more than 20 years, the Great Crunchie Train Robbery ad is a perennial favourite, etched in the minds of many. The role of the train guard in that ad was just one of many roles played by veteran actor Ian Watkin. His passing in May saw the classic commercial take out that month's top spot.
A look back at actor Karl Urban – before he was famous – in the first episode of TV3 soap Homeward Bound captured the most views in June. Now more at home on the big screen, the young Urban went on to join the cast of another (much longer-lasting) soap, Shortland Street.
July was all about the ads, creating a massive spike in site views. Legend (Ghost Chips) rose to the top. Healthy debate about which ad was the best resulted in the collection being widely viewed. After much “internalising of a complicated situation“ in people’s heads, this spot snuck in ahead of Toyota’s classic Bugger.
Sam Wills was taking the world by storm in September, as he mimed his way to the finals of America’s Got Talent. Show Pulp Comedy – proving what a hotbed of comedic talent it was – featured a younger, more vocal Sam Wills and became September’s most watched title.
Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses screened on television in October, the same month that the tragic mākutu ritual occurred in 2007. Thanks to renewed interest in the controversial case, the trailer for this docu-drama was most-viewed in October.
The Modfather left us in November; people came to the site in droves to remember Ray Columbus and his legendary ‘mod’s nod’. Not unexpected, as he had been battling ill health, but a pop pioneer and absolute legend had finally passed. She’s A Mod — yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!
In a year that the passing of celebrities seemed to become an ongoing occurrence, the last month of 2016 saw the death of another local music stalwart – Bunny Walters. Remembered by many for songs like ‘Brandy' and ‘Take the Money and Run’, Walters featured in December's most viewed title, Koha - Māori Musicians.
NZ On Screen couldn’t exist without the support of its users. Nostalgia and in-depth background information on screen gems are at the root of what we do. We look forward to bringing you more in 2017.
- Kathryn Quirk is Content Director of NZ On Screen. Her career in broadcasting and production includes producing music shows for TVNZ, and management roles at TVNZ, NZ On Air and MTV New Zealand.