Introducing New Zealand

Short Film, 1955 (Full Length)

Recut from material shot at least five years before, this National Film Unit short appears to have been driven by the Tourist and Publicity Department. Coming in for praise are New Zealand’s primary exports (farm products), road and railways, and social security. In the 50s long distance air links were opening NZ up to the world but international tourism was not a major industry, and NZ was focused firmly on agriculture. People are shown farming, “a little unsmiling” on city streets, and at play (fishing, sailing and skiing). Kids drink milk and Māori are assimilating.  

Artist

Savage

Savage is one of Kiwi music's most successful exports of the noughties - penning infectious hit 'Swing', whose bass-rich chorus gained US attention after featuring in film Knocked Up (another Savage track features on Superbad). The South-Auckland raised hip-hopper cut his teeth in Deceptikonz before launching his solo career with 2005 album Moonshine, which went gold in Australia. He began making in-roads in the US while working with Akon, and released Savage Island in 2009, followed by Mayhem & Miracles in 2012.  

Series

The Mackenzie Affair

Television, 1977

The five-part series told the story of colonial outlaw James Mackenzie: accused of rustling 1000 sheep in the high country that would  bear his name. His escapades on the lam elevated him to folk hero status. Like producer John McRae’s prior series, Hunter’s Gold, the South Pacific Television ‘prestige’ drama was made with export in mind. Adapted from James McNeish’s book, the early co-production — with Scottish TV, where the opening episode was shot — imported Caledonian lead actor James Cosmo (Braveheart, Game of Thrones) and veteran UK TV director Joan Craft.

Matthew and Marc's Rocky Road to Russia

Television, 2008 (Full Length Episode)

Former All Blacks Matthew Ridge and Marc Ellis team up once again to export their brand of larrikin-like behaviour overseas. In this first episode of their Russian travels they find themselves in the capital of Moscow, where they compete to get smiles out of locals, and head to a space agency building to see if they have the physical ability (and appropriate payment for the guards) to head out into the cosmos. Ridge is informed of a kidney problem, and Ellis gets told he has a dickey heart; but neither diagnosis is enough to prevent the pair testing their limits on the centrifuge. 

The Chair - First Episode

Television, 2002 (Full Length Episode)

The concept behind this game show is that contenders can't hide their nerves. They're wired up to a heart-rate monitor and given a "redline rate" that is 70% above their resting heart rate. If their heartrate goes over the line the contestant starts losing money and can't answer questions until their heart slows down again. Hosted by ex-rugby and league player Matthew Ridge, The Chair was a big-budget, big-event format that was made first in New Zealand and proved a significant export success for Touchdown (now Warner Bros.) selling to 29 territories.

Hunter's Gold - First Episode

Television, 1976 (Full Length Episode)

This classic kids’ adventure series follows a boy trying to find his missing father, amidst the 1860s Otago gold rush. The show displayed unprecedented production values, and demonstrated that Kiwi-made kids’ drama could be successfully exported. This first episode sees Scott Hunter (Andrew Hawthorn) steal away to Tucker’s Valley, spurred on by his unsympathetic uncle. In the background pieces, writer Roger Simpson recalls creating 13 scripts at high speed, and director Tom Parkinson writes about the Kiwi landscape as character, and finding the production team. 

Red Deer

Television, 1977 (Full Length)

Introduced to New Zealand in 1851, red deer soon became controversial residents: sport for hunters, but despised by farmers and conservationists for the damage they caused. First targeted by government cullers in the 1930s, by the 60s they were shot by commercial operators for venison export. Directed by Bruce Morrison and Keith Hunter, this award-winning documentary catches up with the hunt in the 70s, when deer for farming – dramatically caught alive, from helicopters – was a multi-million dollar gold rush. Different versions of the film were made for overseas markets.

Airborne

Short Film, 1980 (Full Length)

In the decades after WWll, introduced deer had become major high country pests, and they were culled in their thousands. By the 1960s entrepreneurs were recovering the meat for export, then later live capturing animals for farming stock, using helicopters. This 1980 National Film Unit documentary follows pilots Norm Kensington and Doug Maxwell on a mission in Fiordland: flying low over imposing mountains, nabbing a deer with a net gun, then ferrying it down the valley hanging from the chopper. Directed by Chris Dillon, the wordless film is scored by Chris Cree Brown. 

The Gravy - Series One, Episode 12

Television, 2007 (Full Length Episode)

This NSFW episode of Sticky Pictures' award-winning arts series is dedicated to exploring the 'sexy side' of buttoned-down New Zealand — from traditional burlesque to erotic sculpture fashioned from export quality butter. Featured are Wellington illustrator Simon Morse, visual artist Stuart Shepherd, performer Tanya Drewery (aka Magenta Diamond) and feminist photographer Siren Deluxe. Also making a cameo appearance — hold on to your rosary beads — the infamous 'Virgin In A Condom'. This Qantas Award-nominated episode was directed by the late Phill England.

Series

Maddigan's Quest

Television, 2005

This children's post-apocalyptic fantasy series follows a circus troupe, Maddigan's Fantasia on their quest to save the world's only remaining city, Solis. The show was created by children's writer Margaret Mahy, developed for television by writers Gavin Strawhan and Rachel Lang for South Pacific Pictures, who produced the 13 x 30min series for TV3. Award-winning and successfully exported, it marked a debut lead performance from Rose McIver (future Tinker Bell in US TV show Once Upon a Time) acting with Michael Hurst, Peter Daube, Tim Balme and Danielle Cormack.