Passionless People

Television, 1976 (Excerpts)

This 1976 TV2 report covers the launch of Gordon McLauchlan’s book Passionless People in Eketahuna, a town he had derided in newspaper columns as an epicentre of New Zealand conformity. Within the book’s pages the author infamously called Kiwis "smiling zombies" – lazy, smug, and a bunch of moaners. McLauchlan bravely visits the local pub, and stands in front of the 'hot pies' sign to muse about sexuality. Ex-All Black Brian Lochore is MC at the launch, where McLauchlan is put on mock trial in stocks at the town hall. Passionless People was a runaway best seller.

The Edge - Series One, Episode 13

Television, 1993 (Full Length Episode)

This edition of the early 90s magazine arts show begins with a visit to Auckland's Herald Theatre to preview a production of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Michael Hurst and starring 16-year-old actor Sophia Hawthorne. Raybon Kan explores fatal books; author Ian Cross is interviewed and Bill Ralston reviews Cross’s latest novel (with Ralston wanting to know why all New Zealand art is "so bleak, so barren"). Film Festival director Bill Gosden previews the event's programme, and comedy group Facial DBX is interviewed ahead of the Watershed Comedy Festival.

Patu!

Film, 1983 (Full Length)

Merata Mita’s Patu! is a startling record of the mass civil disobedience that took place throughout New Zealand during the winter of 1981, in protest against a South African rugby tour. Testament to the courage and faith of both the marchers and a large team of filmmakers, the feature-length documentary is a landmark in Aotearoa's film history. It staunchly contradicts claims by author Gordon McLauchlan a couple of years earlier that New Zealanders were "a passionless people".

Gordon McLauchlan

Writer, Presenter

Journalist and prolific author Gordon McLauchlan edited The New Zealand Encyclopedia for a decade. In 1976 his bestseller The Passionless People dissected the Kiwi psyche. In the 1980s McLauchlan presented Sunday morning magazine show Weekend for a six year run, aside from a few months in the United States while hosting series American Pie. In 1987 he was named Best Presenter at the GOFTA Awards. Later he resumed his partnership with Weekend's Kerry Smith on weekday show 5.30 Live. McLauchlan has also written TV columns for The Listener, and set questions for the first two seasons of Sale of the Century       

Geoff Steven

Director, Writer

Geoff Steven's career spans documentary, experimental film and photography. In 1978, he directed acclaimed feature Skin Deep, the first major investment by the newly established NZ Film Commission. Steven followed it with Strata and a long run of documentaries, before time as a TV executive at both TV3 and TVNZ. He now heads the Our Place World Heritage Project.