In this fascinating social experiment, a 21st century Kiwi family is transported back in time to live as a typical family would have — 100 years ago. Their house and garden is restored to its 1900 state with electrical fittings, modern plumbing and all traces of modern living removed. The family have to deal with the challenges of turn of the last century manners, dress, morals, work and a lack of conveniences (including a regular outside trip to the long drop toilet). Based on a UK format, the series was followed in New Zealand by Colonial House (2003).
TVNZ's long running quiz show pitted four-member teams from the country’s universities against each other for egghead bragging rights. Host Peter Sinclair (C'mon, Happen Inn) poses the "starter for 10" and presides over this second semifinal from the fifth series. Sinclair is typically sharp — "Lake Taupō. A very hesitant answer to what I thought was a very easy question" — as teams from Victoria and Canterbury (eventual series winners) compete for a finals place. Subjects range from The Decalogue to Dire Straits. Calculators and encyclopedia are at stake.
This Inspiration edition profiles NZ’s pre-eminent children's author Margaret Mahy: from her childhood as "Mad Margaret", through her days as an unmarried mother and librarian to an internationally acclaimed writing career. The centrepiece is a specially commissioned – and typically zany – story about a story (complete with talking mail boxes, typewriters and bookshelves) where Mahy goes meta, and explores the role imagination plays in her work. Throughout the Keith Hunter-directed documentary there is vivid evidence of the remarkable bond Mahy shared with her readers.
A tongue in cheek paean to the joys of middle age, this jaunty, amiable rocker was an unlikely hit in the more electro-pop oriented early 80s. Written by Dave Luther, from folk pop group Hogsnort Rupert, it was the 12th biggest selling single in NZ in 1983. The all-singing, all-dancing music video, like so many of the era, was an Avalon studios television production. Less typically, by the standards of the day, it practically amounts to a major production with multiple sets and a cast of dozens while the band hams it up for all they are worth.
Stephanie Tauevihi (Shortland Street) was vocalist of choice on this cover of Australian band The Church's biggest hit. Strawpeople founders Paul Casserly and Mark Tierney cast themselves in unlikely roles as guitarists, and share the directing duties on this typically stylish video. It captures the song’s sense of emptiness and disconnection in its tale of an astronaut’s love (although the song’s original inspiration was an Amsterdam club, not the astral Milky Way). The woman in spectacles with the mysterious office machine is played by DJ/actor Phoebe Falconer.
Today Live was an interview show hosted by journalist Susan Wood; it was aimed at “the lighter, more conversational end of the spectrum” from her work at the time as stand-in on Holmes. Part of TVNZ’s search for a lead-in to the 6pm news, it screened 5:30pm weeknights from March 2000 to December 2001. Each episode typically featured three interviews with regular reviewers and guests that included actors, authors, sports people, musicians and newsmakers. Auckland’s rush hour traffic and weather provided a backdrop, courtesy of a rooftop studio with a glass wall.
In this 1971 film pianist Barry Margan ‘humps’ his grand piano around NZ, on a mission to bring classical piano to places where it might not typically be heard. Aiming to break down barriers to enjoying live chamber music, Margan plays his pop-up piano (including Douglas Lilburn’s ‘Sonatina’) at coffee bars, libraries and art galleries. The trailer-borne grand is not easy to set up, but the audiences (from soldiers to children) are willing. Narrated by Margan, this was the last film in the National Film Unit's three decade-spanning Pictorial Parade magazine series.
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.
The Listener described the children’s music of Fatcat & Fishface as being “like Tom Waits’ toy cupboard”; aptly this dirty ditty’s subject is not typical fairytale fodder. ‘Flyby’ buzzes into the kitchen to honour the humble house fly, where — all together now — “she was … looking for a place to lay her maggots.” The stop motion music video tribute to the fly is animated lovingly by Robin Nathan and Greg Schmetzer. The song is from the album Horrible Songs for Children, which won Best New Artist for Older Children at the 1999 Children's Music Web Awards (USA).
The first single from the final Straitjacket Fits album features a typically oblique Shayne Carter lyric hinting at despair and defiance — possibly touching on the departure of founding member Andrew Brough. The overcast lyrical content and lurching, hard edged guitars find their match in this black and white video from director Andrew Dominik, which shrouds the band in studio shadows. Dominik went on to direct lauded films Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Killing Them Softly (the latter two starring Brad Pitt).