NZ's first house record was a one-off studio project for Simon Grigg, Alan Jansson, Dave Bulog and James Pinker. With a nod to UK act MARRS' indie/electro hit 'Pump up the Volume' — and a sample from Indeep's 'Last Night a DJ Saved My Life' — it briefly featured in the UK club charts. The TVNZ-made music video borrows the record's original graphics (by novelist Chad Taylor) and marries them to a mash-up of 1960s black and white, music related archive footage (including C'mon) with the occasional novelty act and politician added for good measure.
The laidback pop-reggae of double platinum album On the Sun was a noughties Kiwi summer soundtrack, and this golden hour-hued affair is a video to match. A Seedy trio (Barnaby Weir, Bret McKenzie, Daniel Weetman) head on holiday to the Coromandel for a smorgasbord of baches, pohutukawa rope swings, mussels on the barbie, and cricket on the beach. There's a nod to the sponsor's product as McKenzie pulls the Holden into the Tararu Store for a Fruju pitstop: one of the future Oscar-winner's earliest paid acting gigs was in an ice-block commercial.
Australian Idol winner Stan Walker made his acting debut in Tearepa Kahi’s feature film Mt Zion, as a potato picker from Pukekohe who dreams of supporting his idol Bob Marley at Marley's 1979 Auckland concert. This song from the film’s soundtrack combines Mt Zion’s reggae sounds with Walker’s more R’n’B/soul style. The video mixes scenes from the film with a performance from Walker (displaying the tattoos that were deemed too modern for a period piece, and had to be covered up for the movie).
Rappers Upper Hutt Posse were the first New Zealand hip hop act to release a record (and one of the most radical). This reflection on troubles at home and abroad brings out a more reflective side. Against news footage of the Springbok Tour, Bastion Point and a host of international trouble spots, the sweet soul vocals of Teremoana Rapley and Acid Dread (aka Steve Rameka) float in and out of the raggamuffin toasting of MC Wiya (Matt Hapeta) and Dean Hapeta’s less than cheery weather forecast. This music video was one of the first to be funded by NZ on Air.
This big, bright cover of British act Blue Mink's plea for multi-racial harmony and a world of "coffee coloured people" was a chart-topper for all female vocal group When the Cat's Away in November 1988. The self-produced video is heavy on 80s fluoro colours and overexposed whites, while the placement of the Cats around a single mic affords them plenty of chances to interact and enjoy each other's company (they're also seen out and about on Karangahape Road, and at a rugby league test). This cat video before cat videos overran the internet includes an actual cat.
Recorded at the Galaxy in Auckland for a Radio With Pictures special in May 1987, Hamilton rockers Knightshade perform ‘The Physical You’. The song made it to number 14 on the New Zealand charts as part of an EP of the same name. Soon after, the band signed an ill-fated deal with Australia's Mushroom Records, before finally releasing their self-titled debut album — featuring this song — in 1995. The band’s performance is archetypical 80s hard rock — which makes sense of their long list of support slots for acts including Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi and Jimmy Barnes.
Dave Gibson (ex-Elemeno P) formed this indie-folk family act with his brother and wife. Now based in New York, they share centre stage with their new home in this hyperactive video for their debut single. As daily life in the Big Apple rushes past them, they busk the city’s streets and landmarks apparently unmoved by the commotion (but twitching slightly). There are unscripted cameos from a scene-hogging Batman and a courier van that gets a little too close, but the award for best supporting actor goes to a seemingly endless bottle of orange soda pop.
Wellington dub/roots act Rhombus won fans with this video for the brassy, bouncy, self referential first single from their debut album ‘Bass Player’. Director Chris Graham pays fulsome tribute to classic road movie Goodbye Pork Pie (complete with cameo from the film’s star, original 'Blondini' Kelly Johnson). There are also appearances from a number of Wellington musical heavyweights, including Fat Freddy’s Drop, Trinity Roots (with a snatch of ‘Little Things’) and MC Rizzla, also known as Tiki Taane (who features on the original track).
The Warratahs were unique in the late 80s NZ music scene — a band playing classic country music with an eye on the mainstream. They enjoyed some chart success but director Waka Attewell's video for their first single almost seems to anticipate that they will make their major impact as a live act — honing their sound on the road in halls, pubs and woolsheds the length and breadth of the land. The location is a school hall in the Wellington suburb of Brooklyn, with a room full of dancers responding to the Warratahs' signature warmth and timelessness.
Annie Crummer came to attention with her cameo in ‘For Today’ in 1985 and she was a member of the high profile late 80s act When The Cats Away — but her debut solo album Language didn’t appear until 1992. This cover of a song originally recorded by Eric Clapton was its first single. It features Pacific reggae band Herbs (with the late Charlie Tumahai as duet partner). Fred Renata’s stylish video is a study in monochrome as it alternates black and white backdrops (and wardrobe for Crummer), and augments them with photos of loved ones and shadow play.