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.
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.
Skitz was a popular long-running sketch-based comedy that screened for four series. Populated with memorable characters and catch-phrases, and broad, take-no-prisoners humour, it won Best Entertainment Programme at the 1996 NZ TV and Film Awards. A particular favourite in its arsenal of regular characters was the Semisi family with their 'fresh off the boat' antics inspiring mirth and groans in equal measure. Skitz featured seasoned comedians such as Jackie Clarke, as well as new faces at the time, including Jemaine Clement of future Flight of the Conchords fame.
Director Peter Coates pays tribute to the intelligence and wit of the world’s only mountain parrot in this Survey documentary; as a Christchurch Star review put it, "they must be the least camera-shy birds in creation". The kea’s antics are aided by Ian McDonald’s playful score, plus interviews with expert Dick Jackson, lecturer Les Cleveland, climber John Pascoe, a ranger, a tramper, and a farmer who describes hunting kea — now threatened and protected, but once the subject of a bounty after the opportunistic birds developed a taste for sheep sashimi.
The Underdogs were a mid-60s Auckland blues band notorious for their antics on stage and in the TV pop show C'mon. Wearing street clothes or Sgt Pepper-influenced op-shop uniforms, they were teenagers with an attitude, pushing the bounds of behaviour and grooming. 'Sitting in the Rain' is their best remembered recording, though it sold few copies on its release in 1967. Murray Grindlay's weary vocal is supported by the mercurial, lead guitar lines of Lou Rawnsley, and minimal backing from the rhythm section, bassist Neil Edwards and drummer Tony Walton.
In the pre-Flying Nun era, Mother Goose was the most successful band to emerge from Dunedin. Their mad-cap image and on-stage antics blended mid-1970s rock'n'roll theatricality with a nursery sensibility built around characters that included a sailor, a bumble-bee, a ballerina and a nappy-clad baby. Their biggest hit, the novelty song 'Baked Beans', threatened to overwhelm their more serious music and a career which ran to three albums, extensive touring in Australia and the USA and an APRA Silver Scroll for their 1981 single 'I Can't Sing Very Well'.
Radio Wha Waho was a pioneering bilingual sitcom about a rural iwi radio station that is close to collapse. Among characters talking back in te reo and getting up to antics on this Māori-style WKRP in Cincinnati are a smoothtalking DJ with delusions of being a ladykiller (a pre-Mrs Semisi Hori Ahipene); a young fireball who wants to graduate to a big station in the city (Greg Mayor, future star of Stewart Main short Twilight of the Gods); and Aunty Doss (Kath Akuhata-Brown), the heart and soul of the whole operation. Produced by TVNZ's Māori department.
New Zealand television's first sitcom, Buck House centred on the antics of a group of university students sharing a flat in Wellington. In this sixth episode of the first series, Reg — played by a fast-talking, afro-headed Paul Holmes — gets embroiled in his flatmate Joe's latest illicit moneymaking scheme. 'Escorts Unlimited Ltd', as Joe (Tony Barry) tries to explain, is a surefire winner. That is, until Buck House's other flattie, the left-leaning Jo (Jacqui Dunn) invites a member of the local constabulary home for a cup of tea. The late night comedy was considered edgy when it debuted in 1974.
Teacher Mr Gormsby believes in brutal honesty - and that the education system has gone all namby-pamby. In desperation, a dysfunctional low-decile school employs him.director/co-creator Danny Mulheron was inspired partly by an old school teacher who wore a military beret, and has irreverent fun with the archaic antics of Mr Gormsby. The Dominion Post compared Gormsby to Fred Dagg and Lynn of Tawa; The Sydney Morning Herald found it "darkly funny". Running two seasons, it was nominated for Best Script and Best Comedy in the 2006 NZ Screen Awards.
Matt Heath and Chris Stapp first launched grungy rockers Deja Voodoo as the fictional house band in brief segments of their TV show Back of the Y. The offer of a university orientation tour encouraged them to take their mock rock creation more seriously, and actually become a real band. In line with their Back of the Y antics, the concerts saw ten burning acoustic guitars were smashed over Stapp’s head. Deja Voodoo have released two albums celebrating alcohol, women and beer: Brown Sabbath and Back in Brown. They also featured extensively on the soundtrack to Heath and Stapp’s 2007 film The Devil Dared Me To.