Series

Strangers

Television, 1989

The "kids stumble on crims" premise of this kidult thriller series was practically an NZ TV staple in the 80s (Terry and the Gunrunners, The Fire-Raiser); here it's realised with a script by author Margaret Mahy and the director/producer team of Peter Sharp and Chris Bailey (vying with a schedule disrupted by Cyclone Bola). Mahy creates a world of masks, disguises and intrigue for a young cast including Martin Henderson (his screen debut), Hamish McFarlane (fresh from Vincent Ward’s The Navigator), Joel Tobeck (an early role) and deaf seven-year-old Sonia Pivac.

Strangers - Episode One

Television, 1989 (Full Length Episode)

This kidult thriller features Martin Henderson (in his screen debut) and Hamish McFarlane (fresh from The Navigator) with a script by Margaret Mahy. Brothers and sisters Emma and Zane, and Kelsey and Morgan are friends, with their own clubhouse and secret society. Their lives change when Zane and Emma witness a jeweller’s shop robbery, and Morgan and Kelsey see two men escape their crashed car after a police chase. The friends find themselves plunged into a world of intrigue, questionable Special Branch agents and a mysterious fire eater and magician.

Perfect Strangers

Film, 2003 (Trailer and Excerpts)

One night in a West Coast pub, Melanie (Australian actor Rachel Blake) meets a handsome stranger (Sam Neill) and accepts his invitation to go back to his place. When they board his boat she discovers it is further than she thought (a shack on a deserted island). Once they arrive he treats her like a princess. However it slowly dawns on her that she's been kidnapped. Terrified, she also knows that he's her only way off the island. As events play out in Gaylene Preston's twisted thriller, Melanie's feelings change from anger and fear — to desire.

Island of Strange Noises

Television, 1981 (Full Length)

The remote Antipodes Islands lie 860 kilometres southeast of Stewart Island. This 1980 documentary follows a Wildlife Service team surveying the islands’ inhabitants who are making all the strange noises – fur seals, albatrosses, petrels, parakeets and snipe, elephant seals and prolific penguins. It also investigates threats to their survival: mice and overfishing in the southern ocean. Winner of a Silver Medal at New York's International Film and Television Festival, this early Wild South episode helped establish the reputation of TVNZ’s Natural History Unit (later NHNZ).

Adam Strange

Director

After making his first commercial in 1995, one-time graphic designer Adam Strange went on to direct for high profile clients (Pepsi, Toyota, Casio) across Asia, and beyond. His film Aphrodite's Farm — about a family with a magical secret — played in 18 international festivals, winning best short film in its section at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival. Adam Strange died in a West Auckland shark attack on 27 February 2013.

Suddenly Strange

Bic Runga, Music Video, 1997

This single, one of many from singer-songwriter Bic Runga's debut album Drive, is a recognition that a relationship is over. Runga's bittersweet lyric is a declaration of independence that never quite manages to be unequivocal. Nominated for best video at the 1998 New Zealand Music Awards, Wayne Conway's clip finds her in a box in a number of locations around Auckland — enclosed while a slightly surreal life goes on around her, until she musters the energy to walk out into the world.

Stranger People

Doprah, Music Video, 2013

In a typically polished effort from the industrious Thunderlips duo, Doprah vocalist Indira Force’s metamorphosis into a schizophrenic kawaii girl (Japanese for ‘cute’) makes for an unsettling contrast to the song’s slow-burning ambience — although a late cameo from bandmate Steven Marr in Sailor Moon-style garb provides some comic relief. The clip premiered on US music journal SPIN’s online edition, and was nominated for Best Music Video at the 2014 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.

Collection

The Florian Habicht Collection

Curated by NZ On Screen team

Florian Habicht first won attention for 2003's Woodenhead, a fairytale about a rubbish dump worker and a princess. By then Habicht had already made his first feature-length documentary. Many more docos have followed: films that celebrate his love for people, and sometimes drift into fantasy. In this collection, watch as the idiosyncratic director meets fishermen, Kaikohe demolition derby drivers (both watchable in full), legends of Kiwi theatre and British pop, and beautiful women carrying slices of cake through New York. Ian Pryor writes here about the joys of Florian Habicht.

Collection

Split Enz

Curated by NZ On Screen team

It's hard to reduce legendary band Split Enz down to a single sound or image. Soon after forming in 1973, they began dressing like oddball circus performers, and their music straddled folk, vaudeville and art rock. Later the songs got shorter, poppier and — some say —better, and the visuals were toned down...but you could never accuse the Enz of looking biege. With Split Enz co-founder Tim Finn turning 65 in June 2017, this collection looks back at one of Aotearoa's most successful and eclectic bands. Writer Michael Higgins unravels the evolution of the Enz here.

Collection

Better Safe than Sorry

Curated by NZ On Screen team

Long before Ghost Chips, even before "don't use your back like a crane", life in Godzone was fraught with hazards. This collection shows public safety awareness films spanning from the 50s to the 70s. If there's kitsch enjoyment to be had in the looking back (chimps on bikes?!) the lessons remain timeless. Remember: It's better to be safe than sorry.