Animated plasticine. Talking chickens. Dancing Cossacks. Plus old favourites bro'Town, Hairy Maclary and Footrot Flats. From Len Lye to Gollum, feast on the talents of Kiwi animators. In his backgrounder to the Animation Collection, NZ On Screen's Ian Pryor provides handy pathways through the frogs, dogs and stop motion shenanigans.
"It is about 'life, death and fu*king good music'" runs the tagline to this movie, which follows a Wellington band playing East Coast and Northland pubs, as they head for Cape Reinga. On the road to Te Rerenga Wairua the boys go on a roots journey that is both musical (the cast includes singer Francis Kora, with songs by Trinity Roots' Warren Maxwell) and personal (mateship, whānau, whakapapa). The debut from writer/director Himiona Grace was co-produced by Ainsley Gardiner (Boy) and Mina Mathieson (Warbrick). It was released in NZ cinemas in February 2014.
This 1950 edition of the Weekly Review series welcomes the touring British Lions rugby team in Wellington, where speeches are given on the wharf. It was the first post-war tour by the Lions (notable for the debut of their iconic red jerseys — not able to be discerned in this black and white reel!). Then it’s down to Canterbury Museum to explore displays of moa bones, cave paintings and the relics of the moa hunters. Finally it’s up to the farthest north to visit Te Rerenga Wairua, for a look at life keeping the ‘lonely lighthouse’ at Cape Reinga Station.
This documentary follows the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand on a 1985 commemorative tour. On 24 March 1985, over 90 vehicles and their owners gathered in Invercargill to honour a century of motoring. Then the Vauxhalls, Chevrolets and Fiats embark on a reverse Goodbye Pork Pie as the lovingly-restored vintage cars head from the deep south all the way to Cape Reiga, meeting Prime Minister David Lange en route. A rare directing credit for veteran cameraman Allen Guilford, Milestones is narrated by John Gordon, who swaps A Dog's Show commentary for motoring trivia.
Veteran weatherman Jim Hickey sums up A Flying Visit at the start of the first episode: “We’re going to be visiting some of the more unusual and out of the way places, and I’ll be chatting with the locals and they can tell me what makes their little place tick”. He touches his Cessna 182 down on NZ’s northernmost airstrip, meets a pig hunting nana, flies by the lighthouse and Ninety Mile Beach, then crosses to Russell to meet a boogie-boarding dog, a lawn-mowing goat, a uniquely-painted ute — and check out some history. Then it's a flying visit to giant kauri Tāne Mahuta and its kai cart.
Sir Ed Hillary, then in his early 50s, acts as tour guide to remote New Zealand. In the far north he receives a tokotoko (walking stick) and admires the Aupōuri people’s connection with the land. He goes bush and dives for scallops off Stewart Island and fishes on a Hollyford sandspit. In the Alps he tackles a 1971 grand traverse of Mount Cook with Harry Ayres and other mates. Not bad for a self-described "middle-aged family man who has tried to keep himself reasonably fit". Sir Ed narrates, and his down-to-earth passion for adventure makes this an inspiring travelogue.
This trippy animation follows the spirit of a person killed in a motorway car accident. The life force (wairua) runs through forest and beaches on its journey to Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Rēinga). En route it meets tourist buses and other spirits, before reaching the gnarly pohutukawa and making the leap towards Hawaiki-Nui. There's a real native joy in seeing contemporary 80s animation enliven ancient Māori spiritual concepts. Joe Wylie (Toy Love's Bride of Frankenstein) was in charge of the animation team; The Clean provide the soundtrack to the all-stops-out finale.
Proud to be a world citizen, US-raised Chinese-Hungarian Sándor Lau did a masters in film at Auckland University, after time in Mexico and Europe. His epic walk to Cape Reinga is documented in 2003's Behaviours of the Backpacker; then came feature doco Squeegee Bandit, about a charismatic Māori car washer. It was invited to 20 international festivals. Lau is now a partner in a US finance company.
Tim Woodhouse has cut some of NZ’s most celebrated documentaries since crossing the Tasman in 1989. Although he won a Best Editing for TV drama Staunch in 2002, Woodhouse has largely specialised in docos. He has worked on a number of director Leanne Pooley’s projects, including Haunting Douglas (another award-winner), hit Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls and Beyond The Edge (about Hillary on Everest).