Dragon brothers Marc and Todd Hunter bestride the hills of south east New South Wales in this video for one of their latter hits. The autumnal lyrics are a good fit for a band in its later and more reflective years: Marc is celebratory in one of his last videos with the band. Todd — bass against the bush background — is gleeful, and the cow unperturbed. Written by keyboard player Alan Mansfield and his partner, Kiwi singer Sharon O’Neill, ‘Young Years’ gained added poignancy following Marc Hunter’s death in 1998. O’Neill has dedicated her performances of the song to his memory.
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.
Chart-topper 'Brother' is about Smashproof's South Auckland neighbourhood, and how the hip hop trio want it to change — crime and violence are not the only options. It's an urgent message, delivered via a powerful, Tui award-winning drive-by video from music video director Chris Graham. The clip made it into mainstream news media for a scene bluntly inspired by a high profile incident, where a businessman stabbed a young tagger. Singer-songwriter Gin Wigmore features during the chorus. 'Brother' broke local chart records, after spending eleven weeks at number one.
In this video, languid Pacific Island imagery (poi, hibiscus, tamariki, breaching whales) and gorgeous reggae pop are contrasted with images of French nuclear testing. There are punchy 'no nukes' slogans and graphics, but a great performance from Herbs does the work effortlessly in this simple, well-crafted video. 'French Letter' was originally released in 1982 and began an eleven week stay on the Kiwi singles charts — despite very little radio play. It was rereleased in 1995 to protest the resumption of nuclear testing: "Let me be more specific - get out of the Pacific!"
'Lyin' in the Sand' closed Hello Sailor's self-titled debut album in 1977, the song's languid South Seas vibe providing respite after 'Gutter Black' and various guitars. Inspired by a spontaneous South Pacific parody from vocalist Graham Brazier one night, it was written by guitarist Harry Lyon after observing how Takapuna's smart set took their beach for granted. TVNZ filmed the band playing live in a Christchurch studio in 1978, just before the band set off to try to make it in LA. Lyon sings, so Brazier is absent; drummer Ricky Ball's hula confirms that the band’s tongue was in its chic.
Zed was part of a wave of turn of the century Kiwi guitar bands that found chart success and popular followings. This old school Kiwi pop-rock tune finds music video interpretation via director Scott Cleator (who also envisioned Zed songs ‘Oh! Daisy’ and ‘I’m Cold’). Glorafilia keeps Ben from Zed waiting in the morning, tying ribbons in her white girl dreads (it’s a South Island thing), before science lab shenanigans, cruising in a convertible, Corsair Bay beach volleyball, fireplace bongos, Tintin t-shirts, nose-piercings and other relics from a 90s teen crush.
In 2006 photographer Greg Semu was offered the first residency at indigenous museum Quai Branly in Paris. Just over a decade earlier his debut exhibition was on at Auckland Art Gallery — and he was making an award-nominated music video for the Sisters Underground, with veteran video director Kerry Brown. Set around Mangere Bridge, their clip exudes a palpable warmth, even if the lyrical references to MAC-10s and a hot and cruel June morning are nods to MC Hassanah’s Nigerian origins, rather than the South Auckland suburb. The song got to number six on the Kiwi charts.
Shot on Wellington's South Coast, the video stars Academy Award-nominee Taika Waititi (who also directs) as a turquoise headband wearing jogger attempting an eclectic confidence course. Shot in one ducks-in-a-row long take, our hero slays knights, frees prisoners and crosses the finish line into the arms of his lover. And a horse. A splendid example of she'll-be-rightism, the clip is refreshingly lo-fi, makeshift and delightful — and undoubtedly took a lot more than four minutes and 15 seconds to make.
Made with the contents of many secondhand stores, the video for Evermore's 'Light Surrounding You' makes apt use of its title — the band performs in a ring of lights out in the New South Wales desert. The exact location, Lake George, had been dry for several years at the time of the shoot, although it was later submerged. The video stars Australian actor Emily Browning (Sleeping Beauty), who follows a trail of antique lights out to Evermore’s circle in the desert. The second single off 2006 album Real Life, the song achieved platinum sales in Australia, where it reached number one.
Luke Sharpe’s video for the 2008 number one hit sets out to educate audiences about the Nesian style: replete with graffiti hibiscus, hawaiian shirts ... and hot teacher. The band is shot in front of a green screen, with totems uniting their central Auckland upbringing with their ancestral Polynesian past shown behind them. From baggy jeans to greenstone pendants, corned beef to fish’n’chips, the references nod to the South Pacific influences on the Mystik sound: “Just keep it fresh no matter where you be.” It won Best Hip Hop Video at the 2008 Juice TV Awards.