Johnny

Salmonella Dub, Music Video, 1999

An echoing synth gives this song an ominous tone, and the video matches it with B-movie flair. With the logo for Salmonella Dub’s third album Killervision burnt into his chest, Johnny wakes in the band's boardroom, and the tale of how he got there unfolds. His troubles begin at the Havana Bar where he is drugged, and awakens in the back of a moving convertible. The resultant chase through native bush ends with Johnny getting cornered high up on a dam, leading to perhaps the most daring fight scene yet seen in a New Zealand music video.

Nightclub

Fatcat & Fishface, Music Video, 2010

This song from the mysterious duo Fatcat & Fishface is from the Birdbrain album, praised by the Sunday Star Times as “the best children's record of 2009, and as witty as it is educational.” A collaboration with the Department of Conservation, the song gets down with the manu (birds) to reimagine the inhabitants of the NZ native bush at night as personalities dancing in a nightclub — from prowling with ruru/morepork to jiving with kiwi (“getting down on the ground”) and a boogying DJ kākāpō (“boom, boom!”). Nightclub was animated by Stephen and Ruth Templer.

Greenstone

Emma Paki, Music Video, 1994

Released as the follow-up to Emma Paki’s acclaimed debut (‘System Virtue’) this song was produced by Neil Finn. It made it to five on the local charts. Prolific music video director Kerry Brown (Four Seasons in One Day, AEIOU) helms the redemption story. Paki — in full-colour and fern headdress — sings about the power of pounamu, while actor Cliff Curtis (Once Were Warriors, Fear the Living Dead) plays a roadie adrift in the city in black and white. When things go awry on K Road outside McDonalds, Curtis heads to the bush for spiritual succour from Paki in a waterfall.

Māori Boy

JGeek and The Geeks, Music Video, 2012

In a Mika-inspired cross cultural collision, this Māori music and comedy group blends traditional Māoritanga with the metrosexual world of fashion and beauty. Founded by former C4 presenter Jermaine Leef in 2010, they launched with this video which debuted on YouTube and received 100,000 views in 10 days. From Queen Street to the beach and bush, their appearance moves from Outkast-inspired nerd chic to a style best described as high camp haka; and boy band posturing mixes with lyrics tackling what it means to be a modern 'Māori boy' (“I play my Nintendo everyday”).

Misty Frequencies

Che Fu, Music Video, 2002

Taking as its subjects a boy discovering new sounds on the radio and a soundtrack that gives purpose to a woman’s life, ‘Misty Frequencies’ is a soulful hip-hop hymn to the power of music. Che Fu’s music video places the singer and his band in a giant Tetris-like computer game before plugging into a bush setting (locations representing his musical yin and yang of technology and passion?). A magic mushroom prefigures the tree ferns collapsing in a heap of CGI bricks. ‘Misty Frequencies’ won the 2002 APRA Silver Scroll for Che Fu and co-writer Godfrey de Grut.

Four Seasons in One Day

Crowded House, Music Video, 1992

This 1993 award-winner was the first Crowded House video made in New Zealand. Director Kerry Brown and producer Bruce Sheridan wanted to emphasise the surreal, fantasy elements of the song, using distinctly Kiwi imagery. Locations included beaches and dense bush on the West Coast, the plains of Central Otago and the Victorian architecture of Oamaru. Scenes of an Anzac Day ceremony and marching girls also highlight the homeland setting. Brown took inspiration from Salvador Dali paintings for the psychedelic effects that were added in post-production.

Young Years

Dragon, Music Video, 1989

Dragon brothers Marc and Todd Hunter bestride the hills of south east New South Wales in this video for one of their latter hits. The autumnal lyrics are a good fit for a band in its later and more reflective years: Marc is celebratory in one of his last videos with the band. Todd — bass against the bush background — is gleeful, and the cow unperturbed. Written by keyboard player Alan Mansfield and his partner, Kiwi singer Sharon O’Neill, ‘Young Years’ gained added poignancy following Marc Hunter’s death in 1998. O’Neill has dedicated her performances of the song to his memory.

Tangaroa Whakamautai

Maisey Rika, Music Video, 2012

This soulful invocation, sung in te reo, to Tangaroa — Māori god of the sea — comes from singer-songwriter Maisey Rika's third album. The instrumentation includes a string quartet and traditional taonga pūoro instruments played by Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper. Director Shae Stirling’s music video has a vibrant clarity. It places Rika in the bush and the forest, in the surf and on the smouldering, volcanic landscape of Whakaari/White Island as she hails Tangaroa as commander of the tides while dolphins and whales provide further evidence of his life force.

Talk About the Good Times

Lawrence Arabia, Music Video, 2008

A Swanndri clad Lawrence Arabia (aka James Milne) goes back to nature in this video directed by Stephen Ballantyne and shot at Arthur's Pass in Canterbury. A 60s tinged number from his first solo album, 'Talk about the Good Times' is a scathing dismissal of a former friendship anchored in an urban setting of gyms, box shaped apartments and expensive coffee. Fresh air, the bush, the wide open spaces of the river bed and Greg Chapman's Disney-esque animated animals make for a pastoral idyll to counteract the falseness and paranoia of city life.