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.

Hitchcock

The Phoenix Foundation, Music Video, 2005

From The Phoenix Foundation’s second album Pegasus, ‘Hitchcock’ is an eerie “electro noir” instrumental tribute to the great film director. Reuben Sutherland’s remarkable clip (which he shot, directed, animated and edited) features a choreographed army of Russian Lada cars — created out of images shot with a stills camera and layered 90 times. What follows is a surreal, conservation-themed revisiting of the Cold War as the electric powered Ladas of the ‘Petrol Crimes Bureau’ are pitted against a gas guzzling 4x4 (bedecked with the Stars and Stripes).

A Winter's Tale

The Mockers, Music Video, 1986

Conservation pioneer Richard Henry tried to save the kākāpō from rats and stoats, via an island sanctuary in 1890s Fiordland. His doomed bird rescue efforts might seem an odd subject for a pop ballad. Singer/songwriter Andrew Fagan also included a paean to Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton on 1985 Mockers album Culprit and the King. Fagan argues that adventuring is "naturally something to aspire to. Writing pop songs about it never felt like an issue to me." This performance of the song, directed in a single shot by Brent Hansen, roams a gloomy Avalon studio.

Bat Fly

Fatcat & Fishface, Music Video, 2007

The Listener called the kids music of Fatcat & Fishface “like Tom Waits’ toy cupboard. The perfect antidote to Barney”. This ditty (from 2004’s Pretty Ugly album) came from a collaboration with the Department of Conservation and bypasses the cuddly usual suspects — kiwi etc — to celebrate the unlikely charms of the bat fly. The blind, flightless fly lives symbiotically on the native short-tailed bat: “So what if I like guano … I like it for a snack / There’s nothing like guano … from a bat!” The stop motion animation by Carlos Wedde is suitably Tim Burton-esque.