Written by Fiona Samuel and produced by Ginette McDonald, Face Value is a series of monologues by three women with very different stories to tell, but who share a quest for inner happiness. In House Rules, the inimitable Davina Whitehouse gives a poignant performance as Miss Judd, a housekeeper of 22 years who is forced to reassess her life and situation after her employer’s death. Propriety at all costs is the rule of the day. House Rules is another example of Samuel’s ability to create memorable and subtly complex female characters.
This 1946 film surveys New Zealand housing: from settler huts to Ernest Plischke’s modernist flats. Architect William Page bemoans sun-spurning Victorian slums with their unneeded “elaboration”. But more fretful than fretwork is a housing crisis that sees 26,000 families needing homes, with owning or renting out of reach of many. Michael Savage’s pioneering (but war-stalled) state housing scheme and newly-planned suburbs offer hope. Fed by wood and cement, NZ can build again with brio: “For a home is the basis of the simple things that make victory worthwhile.”
"I hope you're braver than your brother." A young schoolboy (James Ordish) finds his day plunging into nightmare, when he gets called in for a session with the school dental nurse. The nurse (a sly performance by future casting director Tina Cleary) seems to take pleasure in other people's pain. Directed by cinematographer Warrick ‘Waka' Attewell (Starlight Hotel), this short film for the dental wary was written by Ken Hammon, who was part of the team behind Peter Jackson's debut feature, splatter flick Bad Taste.
Debuting in 2003, this Touchdown series followed 2001's Pioneer House, a similar show from the same company. The new show transported an Otago family (policeman Ross, music teacher Dorothy, and their four kids) back to 1852 to recreate the challenges of life as English immigrants to New Zealand — including the clothing, housing and toiletries of settler life. It was executive produced by Julie Christie, who in a 2006 Listener interview mentioned the experience of pitching the show to NZ On Air as a key driver in deciding to make television that wasn’t reliant on public funding.
This 38 episode series revolved around the ups and downs of a community house run by Tony Van Der Berg (Frank Whitten). The series was devised by Liddy Holloway to meet a network call for an Eastenders-style drama that might tackle social issue storylines. It was the first drama series to put a Māori whānau (the Mitchells) at its centre. Despite being well-reviewed, it was perhaps the last gasp of Avalon-produced uncompromisingly local drama (satirised as the ‘Wellington style’), before TV production largely shifted to Auckland to face up to commercial pressures.
Toi Whakaari acting graduate Rachel House, ONZM, won her first theatre award in 1998, around the time she debuted on screen as co-star of short film Queenie and Pete. Since then she has shown her gift for comedy and drama in The Life and Times of Te Tutu, Whale Rider, and White Lies — and won new fans as a child welfare officer on a mission, in Hunt for the Wilderpeople. She was the voice of Moana's eccentric grandma in Disney hit Moana, and has been a panellist on Ask Your Auntie. House has also directed often for the stage: in 2012 she helmed a te reo version of Troilus and Cressida, at London's Globe Theatre.
Filmed at 2008 music jamboree Camp A Low Hum, this music video features various camp attendees dancing and singing while listening to the song on headphones. It's an infectious clip for an exuberant track, capturing the BYO DIY vibe that made the indie festival's name. 'This House Can Fit Us All' was taken from Little Pictures' only album, Owl + Owl (2008). Indie blog Bigstereo called it “perfect DIY pop, all the tracks are real gems”, while another, Panda Toes, described it as “the cutest, most fun-loving music of 2008”. The Little Pictures duo broke up the following year.
"The season's old and the leaves have turned to gold / And the wind blows cold from the south ..." The song is mournful, dreamy and elegiac, and so is the music video, from Steve Young. The clip features amiably laidback performances by the band members, hanging out in various Dunedin locations — including synchronised guitar dancing (a la the Shadows) on a wintry-looking beach: grey clouds, pale blue sky and a charming "out now on Flying Nun" drawn in the sand as the closing shot. The orange $50 note in the busking bowl is a notable 80s relic.
Neil Finn formed Crowded House in 1985 with Melbourne musicians Paul Hester and Nick Seymour, after the end of Split Enz. In 1987 Finn-penned single ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ reached number two in the United States, helping overcome the disinterest of New Zealand radio. Third album Woodface (which included 'Weather with You') saw the United Kingdom become their largest market. In 1996 a weary Finn broke up Crowded House to go solo, only to revive it for two further albums after Paul Hester's death in March 2005.
Rachel House is an accomplished theatre actor and director, but she has also established a strong screen career, beginning with gritty roles in Tiger Country and Queenie and Pete. Since then she has played both comedic and dramatic parts in a string of high profile movies, including Whale Rider, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Boy.