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Kia U

Hinewehi Mohi, Music Video, 1992

Half a decade before the electronic beats of Oceania, Hinewehi Mohi's debut single is a gentler, more soulful affair — with the constantly moving close-ups of director Niki Caro's video underlining the song’s heartfelt simplicity. Co-written with Doctor Hone Kaa and Ardijah founding member Jay Dee, the song pushes the importance of rising above adversity, and having the courage to evolve as a people and a nation. The latter would be challenged seven years later by another te reo performance from Mohi — of the national anthem at a rugby test match. 

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So True

The Black Seeds, Music Video, 2005

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.

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Four Letter Lie

False Start, Music Video, 2008

A young taxidermist lures her unsuspecting prey deep into a copse before flaying him alive - yes it's another stunning, if not a little macabre offering from the Fish'N'Clips stable. In this gorgeously shot clip, James Solomon presents a grisly affair, complete with bird butchery, knitwear and glass eyes, while the band acquit themselves extremely well with formidable performances all round.  

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Heartbroke

Rikki Morris, Music Video, 1990

This soulful despatch from the end of a love affair won Rikki Morris the APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award for 1991. It was produced by his brother Ian (aka Tex Pistol) who contributed a suitably epic 80s drum sound and won himself Engineer of the Year at the NZ Music Awards. The family connection extended to the music video where Rikki’s then wife Debbie Harwood (from When the Cat’s Away) played the former partner in the Super 8 footage (which the pair shot themselves). A stormy surf beach offers an appropriately tempestuous supporting performance.

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Maxine

Sharon O'Neill, Music Video, 1983

"If you don't like the beat, don't play with the drum." 'Maxine' was a single taken from O'Neill's 1983 album Foreign Affairs, about a King's Cross prostitute — "Case 1352, a red and green tattoo" — and based on a woman who worked the streets nearby. The song charted at No. 16 both here and in Australia. The clip starts with Sharon arriving at the airport; look out for leopard skin print tights and a dress straight off Logan's Run. Other highlights: a steamy sax solo, heavy eye shadow and backlit silhouettes in "rain-slicked avenues." Nice.

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Papa People

Bressa Creeting Cake, Music Video, 1997

The original concept for this video involved a girl in love with a wētā. Sadly the wētā has an affair with a horse. Consequently the girl tries to metamorphosise into an insect to be with her love. Bressa Creeting Cake formed in 1991 but with a different name: Breast Secreting Cake. After signing to Flying Nun Records and changing their name, they released their self-titled debut album in 1997. Band members Geoff Maddock and Joel Wilton went onto form Goldenhorse, with writer Kirsten Morrell and guitarist/vocalist Ben King. 

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Sub-Cranium Feeling

King Kapisi, Music Video, 1998

The award-winning promo for King Kapisi's debut single is a family affair: bookended by shots of his two-year-old son, directed by his sister Sima and produced by another sister, Makerita. The song is a plea to his Samoan people to remember their pre-colonial past: “feed your kids not the church”. Filmed underwater at Wellington’s Kilbirnie Aquatic Centre, the video has islander Kapisi swimming through a sea of lava-lava. Made before Kapisi signed a record contract, the video won gongs at 1997’s BFM, Mai Time, and Flying Fish awards and a 2004 NZ On Air 1000 Music Video Celebration nod.

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Venus

The Feelers, Music Video, 1998

The video for this Kiwi pop classic is a live performance-based affair, with a background story involving a girl, a creepy guy and a beat-up old car. The extended swooping shots of the band playing live were done at the Hastings Municipal Theatre (now know as the Hawke's Bay Opera House). 'Venus' featured on The Feelers' debut album Supersystem, which became one of New Zealand's biggest selling albums of 1998.  

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Derail

Shihad, Music Video, 1994

From Shihad’s first album Churn, the video for 'Derail' is a dark and unsettling affair, recasting everyday Kiwi pursuits in a tense, almost disturbing manner. It’s directed by ex-Supergroover Joe Fisher (now known as Joe Lonie), who marries their dissonant riffs and twisted time signatures to black and white footage of horse racing and punters at the track.  Added to the kiwiana gothic mix is some serious looking gumboot tossing, churches and religious imagery: cows and power pylons, golf, bumper boats, roller coasters and dodgems.