On Christmas Eve 1953 a volcanic eruption caused a massive lahar to flow down Whangaehu River. The Wellington-Auckland express crossed the rail bridge at Tangiwai minutes later; it collapsed, and carriages plunged into the flooded river. Out of 285 people, 151 died, in New Zealand's worst rail accident. This 2002 documentary examines events and the board of inquiry finding that the accident was an act of God. This excerpt attacks the story that Cyril Ellis could have warned the train driver what lay ahead, and argues there was a railways department cover-up at the board of inquiry.
On 28 November 1979, an Air New Zealand DC-10 crashed into Mt Erebus, Antarctica, killing all 257 people on board. It was the worst civil aviation disaster in NZ history and at the time, the fourth worst in the world. Made independently of state TV, Flight 901 was the first in-depth documentary on the accident. It surveys the novelty of Antarctic tourist flights, the search and rescue operation, and controversy over causes stirred by the Peter Mahon-led Royal Commission of Inquiry. This 15 minute excerpt was edited for NZ On Screen by director John Keir.
Award-winning journalist Mihingarangi Forbes has spent 20+ years working in television, reporting in both te reo and English. Feilding-raised Forbes began her career as an intern on Te Karere, before moving to One News, Campbell Live, 20/20 and Native Affairs. She resigned from Māori Television in 2015, claiming she'd lost control over her stories, and began presenting Three's new current affairs show The Hui in 2016.
Bob Stenhouse, the first Kiwi animator to be nominated for an Academy Award, spent 12 years working for state television. After joining the Government’s National Film Unit in 1980, he made Oscar-nominated short The Frog, The Dog and the Devil. Stenhouse’s later films have included several Joy Cowley short stories, plus award-winning short The Orchard, a Japanese fable adapted to a New Zealand setting.
The late Margaret Thomson is arguably the first New Zealand woman to have directed films. Thomson spent much of her film career working in England, plus two years back in New Zealand at the National Film Unit. Her NFU short Railway Worker (1948) is regarded as a classic.
Helen Clark once described Derek Fox as the pre-eminent Māori broadcaster of his generation. He is a journalist and publisher whose work in Māori media spans print, radio and television. Fox's name is synonymous with TVNZ's daily Māori news programme Te Karere; Marae, which he fronted for many years; and Māori Television, which he was instrumental in setting up.