Blue Smoke (featuring Jim Carter)

Neil Finn, Music Video, 2015

Creating New Zealand's first local hit involved a lot of trial and error, as a company best known for making radios grappled with how to make records. Sixty-six years later Neil Finn visited musician Jim Carter, whose Hawaiian-style guitar is part of the magic of the original 'Blue Smoke' track. Finn "gently persuaded" Carter to help him record a new version on a laptop in just a few hours. Alongside newsreel shots of WWII soldiers, this evocative clip features footage of two musicians from different generations sharing memories, and making music about saying goodbye.

Her Hairagami Set

The Brunettes, Music Video, 2007

This award-winning puppetry/comic book creation follows a put upon heroine enduring jibes from the cool crowd about her hairstyle. She resolves to rectify her situation using a new 'Hairagami Set'. The video was created by duo Trophy Wife (Ian and Rebecca Hart), who later revealed that the Hairzilla monster was a late addition, after US record label Sub Pop felt uncomfortable with "school shooting imagery". The clip won Best Music Video at the 2008 Vodafone NZ Music Awards. Check out the true to life puppets of band members Jonathan Bree and Heather Mansfield.

Sweet Lovers

The Holidaymakers, Music Video, 1988

The first single for short-lived Wellington band The Holidaymakers was a cover of a little-known song by American Bill Withers. It spent six weeks at number one and was the biggest-selling single in New Zealand in 1988. On a low budget director Fane Flaws created a beautifully lit video that captures the song’s infectious brightness and warmth. With a collection of lamps the only concession to props or special effects, nothing detracts from the compelling performances by vocalists Peter Marshall and Mara Finau. Sweet Lovers won Best Video at the 1988 NZ Music Awards.

Blowin' Dirt

Goodshirt, Music Video, 2001

Goodshirt's attention-grabbing promos were typified by high concepts rendered with low-budget No 8 wire smarts — often with game participation from the band members. This mind-bending creation by director (and ex-Supergroover) Joe Lonie is no exception: a Mazda 929 (or an Austin 1300, if you watch the video's other version) is re-deconstructed, before leaving in a cloud of smoke, loaded with frog men. Lead singer Rodney Fisher gives the standout performance. He had to sing every lyric backwards to achieve the desired time-warping end result. 

Just a Little Bit

Kids Of 88, Music Video, 2010

The urgent, pulsating 'Just a Little Bit' was the second single for Auckland electropop duo Kids of 88. On a set lit by suitably retro fluorescent light tubes, director Tim van Dammen's clip echoes the video for the band's debut 'Our House' — but with models fighting each other rather than having paint poured over them. Van Dammen's aim was to create "a fight, but shot to look like an orgy" — and, by the end of the video, the line between passion and aggression is all but indistinguishable. The single and video were both winners at the 2010 Vodafone NZ Music Awards.

Culture?

The Knobz, Music Video, 1980

In the tradition of novelty songs, ‘Culture?’ was catchy to the point of contagion. Fuelled by carnival keyboards, it was The Knobz response to Prime Minister Rob Muldoon’s refusal to lift a 40% sales tax on recorded music (originally instituted by Labour in 1975), and Muldoon's typically blunt verdict on the cultural merits of pop music (“horrible”). The giddy, hyperactive video comes complete with Muldoon impersonator (Danny Faye), and casts the band as the song’s 'Beehive Boys'. In the backgrounder, Mike Alexander writes about his time as the band's manager.

Duet (Lonely I Be)

Steve Abel and Kirsten Morrell, Music Video, 2006

This appropriately moody music video saw director Florian Habicht (Kaikohe Demolition) collaborating with musician Steve Abel, who had contributed to the soundtrack of Habicht's movie Woodenhead. The video moves between two puppets on a lonely plain, and close-ups of Abel and the guest vocalist who joins him on the track: Kirsten Morrell from Goldenhorse. The song is taken from Abel's award-winning debut album Little Death (2006). Habicht and Abel would work together again on the video for Abel's song 'Best Thing'. The puppets were created by Kiwi Oliver Smart.

AEIOU

Moana and the Moahunters, Music Video, 1991

This was the first music video funded by New Zealand on Air. The song is a colourful plea for Māori youth to preserve their culture by learning the reo  it also doubles as a handy guide to Māori pronunciation. Director Kerry Brown created vibrant animated backgrounds to match the song’s hip-hop beats. The cameo appearances include Moana Maniapoto’s father, MC OJ and the Rhythm Slave, Mika and various crew members. The Moahunters were Mina Ripia (who went on to her own act Wai) and Teremoana Rapley (from Upper Hutt Posse, who went on to manage King Kapisi).

Cool World

Grace, Music Video, 1995

The video for 'Cool World' melds a mood of paranoia — including flashes of recording equipment, and worried words about surveillance — with numerous images of a model in a silver halter top, dealing to a punching bag. The Samoan brothers Ioasa create a smoothly percussive sound, which echoes overseas bands like Roxy Music and The Blue Nile much more strongly than other music coming out of Aotearoa in this period (1995). The song is taken from Grace's only album Black Sand Shore, which writer Nick Bollinger later rated as one of New Zealand's 100 finest. 

Think Twice

Aotearoa All Stars, Music Video, 2008

Rebecca Gin created a simple but effective black and white video for this charity single, aimed at encouraging young people to ‘Think Twice’ before committing a crime. The line-up of singers and rappers is indeed all-star, and their mass performance footage is intercut with relevant street scenes illustrating the theme. The cast of New Zealand hip-hop royalty features Che Fu, Scribe, P-Money, Savage and DJ Sir-Vere (who initiated the project).