Melusine

Jan Hellriegel, Music Video, 1999

'Melusine' sees Jan Hellriegel swaying to a different beat, at a point of major change in her career. In European folklore, a melusine is half woman, and half serpent or fish. In the music video, Jan Hellriegel performs in a man's suit, her birthday suit and a cocktail dress. Her on-screen transformation reflects the singer's real-life realisation that being feminine could be a place of strength. The video was directed by artist Tracey Tawhiao. Hellriegel recorded the song in-between leaving her record label, and becoming a parent. A remixed version won fans on the Auckland dance scene. 

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.

Last Night in the City

Knightshade, Music Video, 1989

Recorded after their new label Mushroom Records Australia demanded ballads, 'Last Night In The City' is a moment of a departure from the hard rock that Knightshade were known for. But the song proved to be their biggest hit, clawing its way to number nine on the New Zealand singles chart in December 1989. The video has the band playing in a moodily-lit recording studio and features a double neck guitar à la Jimmy Page, a mystery woman, and lead singer Wayne Elliott lamenting lost love. The song was produced by American recording veteran Jim Faraci (Ratt, Poison). 

Falling in Love Again

Anika Moa, Music Video, 2002

The making of this Anika Moa video arguably puts the singer's heady early rise in a nutshell. American label Atlantic Records flew an executive down to New Zealand to monitor proceedings, and ensure that the singer looked as slim on screen as possible. Moa and director Justin Pemberton came up with the idea of Moa lusting after every male she passes. The taxi is driven by actor Antony Starr (before Outrageous Fortune). As for Moa, she soon returned home from the US. A local top five hit, the song ended up on the soundtrack of Julia Roberts romance America’s Sweethearts.

Lady J

Nathan Haines, Music Video, 1995

As smooth and laid-back as the song, this Josh Frizzell-directed music video takes inspiration from the geometric designs of album covers from 1960s label Blue Note Records. The track is from saxophonist Nathan Haines’ debut Shift Left (then New Zealand’s best-selling jazz album). Here Haines is a precocious 22, bespectacled, with his hair cropped unusually short. Sani Sagala (aka Dei Hamo) turns up to add a rap overlay to the song's ‘acid jazz’ influenced sax grooves. Frizzell also directed videos for Emma Paki (System Virtue) and Urban Disturbance (Static).

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.

Youthful

Anika Moa, Music Video, 2001

A teenage Anika Moa attracted the attention of Atlantic Records on the strength of this song, becoming the first Kiwi to sign to a major international label before having released an album at home. The music video places the camera above Moa as she sings about objectification in a house that, even by Kiwi standards, needs a heating upgrade. At the 2002 NZ Music Awards ‘Youthful’ won Moa Songwriter of the Year. In a 2005 Homegrown episode, Moa recalled feeling shy making her first music video. “Everyone thought I looked like Beth Heke."

Isabelle

Greg Johnson, Music Video, 1992

Written and recorded in less than a day, Isabelle became Greg Johnson's biggest single to date, despite the fears of guitarist and label boss Trevor Reekie that a lack of drums limited its radio chances. The enigmatic lyrics — memory, cities under siege, a woman from Zagreb — are complimented by moody images of future Shortland Street actor Josephine Davison, and the band in obligatory sunglasses. Director James Holt now directs commercials around the globe.

Summer in the Winter

Lost Tribe, Music Video, 1996

Arriving in the first decade of Kiwi hip hop, this track edged into the top 20 of the Kiwi singles chart. The performance-based video was shot on the streets of South Auckland, in a mix of both black and white and colour. Lost Souls was made up of two Samoans, a Niuean, a Tongan and a Cook Islander. Two years after recording this tale of post-migration PI life in Aotearoa, Lost Tribe rapper Brotha D (Danny Leaosavai'i) co-founded legendary hip hop label Dawn Raid, with Andy Murnane.

Looking for the Real Thing

The Parker Project, Music Video, 1991

In 1991 Push Push’s 'Trippin' reign at the top of the charts was ended by a synth-reggae cover of Johnny Nash soul song ‘Tears on my Pillow’. The number one debut from The Parker Project was followed by this single, also released on Trevor Reekie's Pagan label. It made it to number 24 in the charts. The video, directed by Peter Cathro (I Love My Leather Jacket), was from the first year of NZ On Air funded music videos. It cuts between black and white shots of the singer making his way to an Auckland school hall, and colour images of him singing with the backing of a Samoan choir.