Launched for 2014's Māori Language Week, the NZ Music Award-nominated video for 'Aotearoa' is a showcase of Kiwi scenery and musical talent, led by main vocalist Stan Walker. 'Aotearoa' began when TV producer Mātai Smith, aware 1983’s 'Poi-E' was the last te reo song to hit number one, thought it might be nice to repeat the feat (in the end he had to settle for number two). Walker wrote the track with his Mt Zion co-star Troy Kingi and singers Vince Harder and Ria Hall. Hall calls the result “a song to celebrate our nation, our landscape, our uniqueness, our language and our people”.
Directed by prolific music video maker turned movie director Jonathan King, this clip for pioneering hip hop duo Dam Native won Best Video at the 1997 NZ Music Awards. It evokes the look of a sepia-tinged colonial era photo, and the art direction —Edwardian suits and tokotoko (walking stick) — are beautifully realised. The film was then deliberately scratched to help it look aged. The result makes an effective backdrop to the song’s political lyrics. DJ Sir-Vere called the track “an original Aotearoa classic”.
Auckland troubadour Greg Johnson won the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award for 1997 with this moody, tortured love song from his fourth album (his first for a major label), Chinese Whispers. The elegant, uncluttered video was directed and edited by Jonathan King. The video was shot in the Auckland suburbs of Newmarket and Parnell. With a narrative straight out of Hitchcock, Johnson is cast as narrator — and both the victim and accomplice of a blonde femme fatale in what appears to be a murder ... with a mysterious handbag the only clue.
The Lambeth Walk was a popular 'swing jazz' dance in London in 1939. It included a hand gesture with the Yiddish "Oi!". New Zealand-born filmmaker Len Lye edited together different versions of the music (including Django Reinhardt on guitar and Stephane Grapelli on violin), and combined them with a variety of abstract images painted and scratched directly onto film, without using a camera. The colourful, dynamic animation was made with public money — for the Ministry of Information in the United Kingdom — scandalising some government bureaucrats.
This Shihad classic has a classic video to match. With primary colours accentuated and the energy levels of Shihad turned up to match, the band members perform and bustle about in a film studio in one extended shot, without any edits. The time and motion tomfoolery is surely handled; someone has had the bright idea of putting developing Polaroid photos at the bottom of the frame, in order to show that the whole video is unravelling in one continuous scene. Directed by Mark Hartley, Home Again was judged Best Video at the 1998 New Zealand Music Awards.
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).
Not exactly a music video, more a prototype. This promo film clip for the Kiwi classic was taken from the band's appearance on the Aussie TV show Bandstand in 1964. It's black and white and very basic, but the band has zoot suits; high slung guitars, as was the way of the time; and all the right moves. A very young-looking Ray Columbus has the beginnings of a Beatles hair-do, and is forever captured in time doing the legendary 'mod's nod'. This was the first time a film clip of a band performing was used for promo purposes in NZ.
Sitting in the Rain is a New Zealand pop landmark. One of the earliest music promo clips, filmed for television in 1967 by the NZBC, it is a cover version by a local band that became better known than the original (by UK blues stalwart John Mayall). The Underdogs were a powerful electric blues combo, but with 'Sitting in the Rain' they knew that less is more; the film clip, used to fill TV scheduling gaps, is similarly unfussy. Like a surly, underground Monkees, the anarchic Underdogs don't hide the fact that the performance is mimed.
This slickly art-directed music video makes a big nod to cult movie A Clockwork Orange, with the band delivering great performances in the Korova Milk Bar and en route to mayhem. Lead singer Jon Toogood bears an uncanny likeness to psychopath Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell in the 1971 film) in the Jolyon Watkins-directed clip. An interesting piece of trivia for the Kiwi Clockwork connections' file: an artwork from NZ artist Ted Bullmore appeared on the wall of Mr Alexander's home in the inspirational film.
Since 1997 mysterious duo Fatcat & Fishface have produced a self-proclaimed ‘outlaw’ oeuvre of music for kids (and adults), that delights in not always looking at the bright side of life — as well as championing New Zealand birds, shipwrecks and rambunctious kids. In 2007 they commissioned Stephen and Ruth Templer to animate this unruly Socratic shanty from the Pretty Ugly album. The resulting film, with skull and crossbones aplenty, screened at the 2007 NZ Film Festival and in Korea, Melbourne and London. The Templers later animated F&F songs Nightclub and Hair.