This promotional travelogue, made for the Christchurch City Council, shows off the city and its environs. Filmed at a time when New Zealand’s post-war economy was booming as it continued its role as a farmyard for the “Old Country”, it depicts Christchurch as a prosperous city, confident in its green and pleasant self-image as a “better Britain” (as James Belich coined NZ’s relationship to England), and architecturally dominated by its cathedrals, churches and schools. Many of these buildings were severely damaged or destroyed in the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.
This post-war Weekly Review urges Kiwi farmers to grow more wheat in the face of a world shortage, and out of a patriotic duty to help Britain. Graphic images of global poverty (especially in the final minutes) are counterpointed with NZ wealth and agricultural ingenuity. The film features scientist Otto Frankel, who introduced new wheat varieties that were better suited to the local climate. This was director Alun Falconer's only on-screen credit while working at the National Film Unit. He and Roger Mirams soon left to found pioneering company Pacific Film Unit (later Pacific Films).
When John Hyde first sought work in television he was advised to "get into the cutting room". His first job was as an editor at Television New Zealand, but Hyde soon made the jump to directing and producing. Today he reaches huge international audiences, helping command documentaries and reality series that focus on massive architectural structures, and showcase the wonders of the natural world.
For three decades Peter Sinclair was one of New Zealand’s leading TV presenters. A radio announcer by training, he was the face of music television, fronting Let’s Go, C’mon and Happen Inn from 1964 to 1973. He reinvented himself as a quiz show host with Mastermind — and hosted telethons and beauty contests until the mid 90s. Sinclair returned to radio and wrote an online column until his death in August 2001.
Trained at Ilam School of Fine Arts, John McDonald cut his teeth directing at TVNZ in the 80s before producing sport for Sky TV. An OE producing at MTV Asia was followed by roles for Screentime. Since joining Mediaworks (TV3) in 2000, he has led an award-winning run of live coverage (Fight for Life, Rugby World Cup, the NZ Music Awards) and comedy. He is Head of In-House Production at Mediaworks.
Christchurch-raised David Rittey discovered film while studying at Canterbury University's Ilam Arts School. Later he won a place at the Victorian College of Arts in Melbourne. His graduation short Out of Darkness (2000) played in many international festivals, while 2004's Closer — the story of a deaf teenager dealing with his sister’s death — won a NZ Screen Award for Best Short Film. It was also nominated for best short at the Cannes Film Festival. Follow-up We the Living starred Emily Barclay (In My Father's Den). Based in Australia since 2008, Rittey has directed many commercials on both sides of the Tasman.
Ruth Harley has been a leader and change agent across 30 years in the screen industry. She was commissioning editor at TVNZ, then the first Executive Director of NZ On Air. From 1997 she spent a decade as CEO of the NZ Film Commission, then crossed the Tasman to head the newly created Screen Australia for five years. In 1997 Harley was awarded an OBE, and in 2006 was named a CNZM.
Hilary Barry has long experience of reporting and reading the news. In 1993 she began a two decade stint at TV3. In 2005 she became anchor of the channel's primetime news, alongside Mike McRobert. Barry went on to report from the Canterbury quakes, the 2011 royal wedding and the famine in Africa. She left TV3 in 2016, and began co-hosting TVNZ's Breakfast; in 2018 she moved to primetime show Seven Sharp.
Rodney Bryant was one of the stars of the heyday of regional television news. In the early 70s he became a Canterbury institution fronting The South Tonight with Bryan Allpress, and returned to host The Mainland Touch in the early 80s. He moved on to TV talkback, then children’s current affairs with The Video Dispatch, before leaving TV for a twenty year run in communications for the Dunedin City Council.
One of New Zealand's best known screen actors, Sam Neill possesses a blend of everyman ordinariness, charm and good looks that have made him an international leading man. His resume of television and 70+ feature films includes leading roles in landmark New Zealand movies, from a man alone on the run in breakout feature Sleeping Dogs to the repressed settler in The Piano.