It's a Heartache

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, Music Video, 2008

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra's version of Bonnie Tyler's wrenching 70s hit was the title track of their debut EP. In director Tim Capper's video, they manage to take the song to new levels of pathos with vocalist Andy Morley-Hall's quest for a slice of vegan apple and rhubarb tart. The location is a crowded Deluxe Cafe (where the ensemble emerged from informal Thursday morning sessions). Age Pryor contributes the solo and, amongst the group's massed ranks, there's a masked nod to absent member and Flight of the Conchord Bret McKenzie.

Stuck Here for Days

The Datsuns, Music Video, 2006

The Datsuns make international touring look so easy. Sporting a home movie look, Stuck Here For Days kicks off with a blues slide guitar riff as Dolf, Christian, Phil and Mat Datsun travel to new, exotic locations via vans and planes. A slightly sped up travelogue follows them around international cities, as the boys check into their rooms, set up their instruments and play frenzied gigs in sweaty venues and packed festivals. Look out for Dolf, cool as a cucumber, emerging from a beer fridge.

Sway

Bic Runga, Music Video, 1997

The third single from Bic Runga's 1997 debut album Drive got to number seven in the NZ charts, 10 in Australia and 26 in Ireland. It nudged the UK charts at 96, and was included on the soundtrack of hit comedy American Pie. Directed by UK photographer/video director Karen Lamond and made to showcase Runga internationally, the video shows the singer shyly stalking the hipster of her 90s dreams, as he stocks the shelves of an Italian deli. Back at her place, the camera pulls back for an unexpected end. An earlier video for the single also exists, directed by Kiwi talent Joe Lonie.

In Colour

Shapeshifter, Music Video, 2013

Electronic soul band Shapeshifter is one of the NZ acts whose songs were covered by international artists in Nick Dwyer’s Making Tracks TV series. Dwyer takes that relationship a step further with this infectious music video for one of the singles from their fourth album Delta. He accompanies their lyrics, about putting aside the pressures and problems of everyday life, with a series of vibrant images from around the world. Gathered during his globetrotting, they celebrate human connection and the simple pleasures afforded by music (and a NZ 1990 t-shirt).

Pulsing

The Body Electric, Music Video, 1982

Shot in the same year he became producer of Radio With Pictures, Brent Hansen created this gem before going on to become Editor-in-Chief and President of Creative for MTV International. Like a cross between a Kraftwerk gig and an early episode of Dr Who, Pulsing features what must have been particularly exciting special effects, but sadly arrives curiously free of content warnings. The sight of ex-Play School host Tim Bartlett being aurally tortured has lined psychiatrists' pockets for decades.

No Flint No Flame

Urban Disturbance, Music Video, 1992

An early example of Kiwi rap music, 'No Flint No Flame' was recorded for the first time while Urban Disturbance were still known as Leaders of Style. Lead by MC, beat maker, and future international radio star Zane Lowe, the crew are backed on this remake by firebreathers, who often come terrifyingly close to DJ Rob Salmon. In 2015 Lowe was part of the writing and producing team nominated for Best Album at the Grammy Awards (for Sam Smith's In the Lonely Hour)  a far cry from the Pasifika Streets he raps about here, 23 years earlier.

Simply on My Lips

Kimbra, Music Video, 2007

Kimbra's second single, the jazz inflected 'Simply on my Lips', was recorded when the future pop star was 16 and still at school. The starkly simple black and white video was directed and animated by Joel Kefali (later one half of award-winning video team Special Problems). It placed Kimbra with her guitar in the corner of a room, whose walls became a canvas for Kefali's line drawings. The result won the Best Breakthrough category at the 2007 Juice TV awards. Within months, Kimbra had signed an international management contract and relocated to Melbourne.

Heavenly Pop Hit

The Chills, Music Video, 1990

This big, shiny, internationally-produced Chills video is still in keeping with the band’s low-key indie style. In majestic cliff-top scenery (Ireland stands in for New Zealand) Martin Phillipps looks like he is at the top of the world, and large rocks bounce across the screen like karaoke cues — perfect imagery to match the soaring sound of this classic pop song. Apparently Phillipps was nearly swept away by a rogue wave, whilst singing furiously along to a non-existent backing tape. The rocks were made of polystyrene.

The Best for You

Age Pryor, Music Video, 2004

Mixing nostalgic home movie style footage with images of Age Pryor looking slightly melancholic, this video dates from the singer's second solo release, City Chorus, released in 2003. Pryor went on to co-found the Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra, and contribute songs and vocals to ensemble album The Woolshed Sessions. 

Stormy Weather

Upper Hutt Posse, Music Video, 1991

Rappers Upper Hutt Posse were the first New Zealand hip hop act to release a record (and one of the most radical). This reflection on troubles at home and abroad brings out a more reflective side. Against news footage of the Springbok Tour, Bastion Point and a host of international trouble spots, the sweet soul vocals of Teremoana Rapley and Acid Dread (aka Steve Rameka) float in and out of the raggamuffin toasting of MC Wiya (Matt Hapeta) and Dean Hapeta’s less than cheery weather forecast. This music video was one of the first to be funded by NZ on Air.