Treasure Island was an early local example of a reality show staple — contestants endured the great outdoors, and each other. Over nine seasons the series went through multiple variations, including a Couples at War season, and another featuring favourites from the past. During the 2004 season of Celebrity Treasure Island, contestant Lana Coc-Kroft was airlifted from Fiji, after she cut her foot on coral and got a life-threatening blood-poisoning disease. On 2002's Treasure Island: Extreme, Barrie Rice — an ex SAS soldier — dealt with being eliminated by hiding in the jungle.
In the first all celebrity version of Touchdown reality TV hit Treasure Island, 14 marooned contestants must provide food, water, fire, and shelter for themselves on a Fijian island, as they compete to find treasure and avoid elimination. Presented by Pieta Keating — who was runner-up on the original Treasure Island — the "household names" include Olympians and All Blacks (Frank Bunce), model Nicky Watson, actors and TV tradesman John Cocks. Hunger and cheating suspicions soon exacerbate tensions between the teams.
NZ On Screen's Pacific Collection celebrates many things — many islands, many cultures, and the many Pasifika creatives who have enriched Aotearoa, by bringing their stories to the screen. The collection is curated by Stephen Stehlin, whose involvement in flagship Pacific magazine show Tagata Pasifika goes back to its very first season. In his backgrounder, Stehlin touches on sovereignty, diversity, Polyfest and bro'Town — and the relationship between Pacific peoples and Māori in Aotearoa.
This collection celebrates the legendary moments that New Zealanders — huddled around the telly — gawked at, chortled with, and choked on our Choysa over as they played out on our screens. "There's a generation who remember where they were when JFK was shot", but as Paul Casserly asks in his collection primer, "where were you when Thingee's eye popped out?"
NZ On Screen is a treasure trove of titles from Aotearoa's screen history. From time to time we've asked people to select their personal Top Five titles on the website. Click on any of the pictures below to sample a wide and varied list of titles as chosen by a wide and varied list of people: including A Dog's Show, Shortland Street, Len Lye, Outrageous Fortune, Billy T James, Boy — and music from 60s rock to Chris Knox.
In 1866 the General Grant sank off the remote subantarctic Auckland Islands, with 2576 ounces of gold on board. In 2000 two kina divers and a one-legged tractor driver headed south on a quixotic quest for the buried treasure. The unlikely lads reckon they know where the booty is (despite it eluding 15+ previous search efforts). Their mission turns out to be rugged, illegal, and possibly clueless (as their homespun theories are tested), but that doesn't deter the spirit of the adventurers. First time filmmaker Samuel Richards came along for the fool's gold ride.
Australian producer Antony Ginnane brought this $6 million romp to New Zealand, after Aussie union Actors Equity objected to the four lead roles going to foreigners. Deer hunting heroes Donald Pleasance (Halloween) and Ken Wahl (six years before becoming TV's Wise Guy) race around in helicopters and jet boats, after discovering a half-sunken WWll plane. This opening excerpt indicates the film's mixture of action, comedy and Southern scenery. Zephyr helped establish Aotearoa's reputation as a place to film; Ginnane and Kiwi John Barnett produced further projects together.
While in Tahiti to scout for locations for a film (ultimately unrealised) on the mutiny of the HMS Bounty, legendary British director David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago) became fascinated by a lost anchor jettisoned by Captain Cook in 1773. Produced for New Zealand’s South Pacific Television, this film follows the anchor’s discovery — by River Kwai bridge exploder Eddie Fowlie — and salvage. A rare 'documentary' credit for Lean, the film was written by his regular scripting collaborator Robert Bolt; Kiwi Kelly Tarlton provides expert dive guidance.
Actor Paul Ellis is best known for playing bad boy Fergus Kearney on Shortland Street. Since leaving the show, he has appeared in a number of New Zealand, US and UK television productions including The Chosen, Celebrity Treasure Island, Legend of the Seeker, Dream Team and Ice. He has also appeared in 2008 movie The Delphi Effect and online soap Auckland Daze.
Radio DJ Simon Barnett has also done his share of television — and the odd movie. His screen debut was as a presenter on long-running kids’ show What Now?. He went on to host a range of other series including Face the Music, Clash of the Codes, Wheel of Fortune and Sing Like a Superstar. In 2015 he won reality TV show Dancing with the Stars.