National Scandal

Schtung, Music Video, 1977

Eclectic ensemble Schtung flared briefly in the late 70s. This music video sees the band clutching umbrellas and briefcases, and forming their own brigade of conservatives in suits. Occcasionally betraying their love of silly walks, they stride through Wellington Railway Station, dash madly around the wharves, and climb the steps of Parliament. The (minimal) lyrics allude to politicians failing to fulfill their promises, although they can also be read as being about a failing romance. The song's final seconds include the lines "Pour on water", from nursery rhyme 'London's Burning'. 

We Don't Know How Lucky We Are

Fred Dagg, Music Video, 1998

John Clarke created an unofficial Kiwi national anthem when his alter ego Fred Dagg first released 'We Don’t Know How Lucky We Are' in 1975, simultaneously celebrating and poking fun at national pride. This video is a 1998 update of the song, instigated by TV's SportsCafe. Times change, but the recipe remains the same: "good clean ball and for God's sakes feed your backs!" Alongside a roll call of celebrities, politicians and sports stars — Sean Fitzpatrick, Chris Cairns, Zinzan Brooke — Clarke spreads the grateful gospel at the United Nations. 

Sideways Here We Come

Die! Die! Die!, Music Video, 2008

The music video for this noisy Die! Die! Die! track is a collage classic from arts collective Trophy Wife. The animated scrapbook effect is like going on an OE without leaving your bedroom, by cutting up old Radio Times Coronation Street specials, National Geographic magazines and videos for Morrissey's band The Smiths. 'Sideways Here We Come' appeared on Die! Die! Die!'s second album Promises, Promises (2008), which was produced in New York by Shayne Carter.  The album won enthusiastic reviews from The Guardian and NME

Aotearoa

Minuit, Music Video, 2009

"We are New Zealand - it's you and I" sings Minuit's Ruth Carr as images of everyday New Zealanders flash up on the screen. Directed by band member Paul Dodge, Minuit's video for 'Aotearoa' is a nostalgic trip through the archives — a celebration of NZ history starting with images of people and places, including Rangitoto, the Pink Terraces, Greytown's historic Revington's hotel through to Sir Edmund Hillary, Aunt Daisy and Ernest Rutherford, as well as national tragedies, protests and hikois — and even the six o'clock swill gets a look in.

Why Does Love Do this to Me?

The Exponents / The Dance Exponents, Music Video, 1991

This infectious song about the heartache of love took Jordan Luck roughly five minutes to write in an east London squat. It was the band's first release after a brief name change to Amplifier, then a shortening to The Exponents. Despite its unlikely origins and subject matter, the song has become an enduring Kiiwi sports stadium sing-along — rivalling Dave Dobbyn's 'Loyal' for unofficial national anthem status. The song's simplicity is matched by director Kerry Brown's video, which allows the band to do what they do best, in scenic spots including Waiotapu hot springs.

There is No Depression in New Zealand

Blam Blam Blam, Music Video, 1981

This classic alternative national anthem by Auckland post-punk trio Blam Blam Blam became a theme song for New Zealand’s long, troubled winter of 1981 as the country was wracked by social and political division and the Springbok Tour. Poet and playwright Richard von Sturmer wrote the lyrics while the music was by Blams member Don McGlashan. The video features a band performance shot on the roof of TVNZ’s Shortland Street studios and shows a curious penchant for celebrity lawn mowing. The performing Marmite and Vegemite jars are, however, the real deal.

Kia U

Hinewehi Mohi, Music Video, 1992

Half a decade before the electronic beats of Oceania, Hinewehi Mohi's debut single is a gentler, more soulful affair — with the constantly moving close-ups of director Niki Caro's video underlining the song’s heartfelt simplicity. Co-written with Doctor Hone Kaa and Ardijah founding member Jay Dee, the song pushes the importance of rising above adversity, and having the courage to evolve as a people and a nation. The latter would be challenged seven years later by another te reo performance from Mohi — of the national anthem at a rugby test match. 

Anchor Me

The Mutton Birds, Music Video, 1994

Don McGlashan’s anthemic plea for safe harbour — written for band The Mutton Birds — won him his first APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award, and began a life of its own. It was used in the soundtrack of a short film (Boy), a movie (Perfect Strangers) and was given all star treatment by Greenpeace. But TVNZ’s use of it on National Party conference footage was a step too far for McGlashan, who took very public offence. Director Fane Flaws places his video — a nominee for an NZ Film and TV Award — in the eye of a mermaid rather than a storm, but plenty of perils await.

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.