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Tala Pasifika - The Cat's Crying

Television, 1995 (Full Length)

Tala Pasifika was a pioneering Pacific Island drama series; this episode is one of six films that screened on TV One in 1996. It's a haunting short film about a young girl named Ana (former Shortland Street star Jaime Passier Armstrong), who asks about a photo in a family album and gets an awkward brush off from her mum. When the family receives news of the tragic death of mum's sister Rose (Sela Brown), it's time for truth, and secrets from the past are revealed.

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When the Cat's Away

Television, 1987 (Full Length)

This concert film captures When the Cat's Away during their first tour. Director Alan Thurston captures the high energy performance and pure joie de vivre of the five women vocalists, showing why the group became a Kiwi favourite. A set focusing on New Zealand songs, international hits of the period and soul classics proved irresistible on the pub circuit. The group would go on to score hit records and bigger shows (playing to 80,000 the following summer). But this was the moment they arrived. The film won best documentary at the 1988 Film and Television Awards.

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Loose Enz - If the Cat Laps

Television, 1982 (Full Length)

This Loose Enz edition sees ambitious young TV ad-man Gary (Rex Merrie) attempt to climb the corporate ladder. His pitch to his old school superiors at a dinner party involves patronising a burgeoning Polynesian market. Open-neck shirts, wide lapels and gold chains represent the aspirational early 80s and bow ties and tartare sauce mark the Rotarian generation of Kiwi Mad Men. When wife Jenny (Alice Fraser) decides to be heard as well as seen, Gary finds his gender stereotypes challenged as much as his business sense. The gabby teleplay was written by Vincent O'Sullivan.

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A Cat Among the Pigeons

Television, 1992 (Full Length)

In the late 80s the creation of a new public park in central Wellington became an act of cross-cultural collaboration, and an infamous battlezone between artist, council and naysayers. Following positive feedback over her design, council staff decided that redevelopment of Pigeon Park (an old pa site) would be led by Māori artist Shona Rapira Davies. This doco follows the passionate, stroppy Rapira Davies, as she fights cost overruns, landscape architects and passersby, and for her vision (which involved handcrafting Te Aro park's 20,000 plus ceramic tiles).

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Newsnight - Rastus the Cat

Television, 1994 (Excerpts)

This excerpt from mid 90s show Newsnight features the extraordinary story of Max Corkill and his motorcycle-riding cat Rastus. After having Rastus dumped on him as a kitten while he was motorcycling around Canada, Max took him along on the road. Quickly becoming comfortable on the bike, Rastus would stand on the handlebars as they drove along. Back in New Zealand, the pair became community favourites, and regularly raised money for the local SPCA. They passed away on 20 January 1998, after being involved in a head-on collision with a drunk driver.

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Cat Inna Can

Straitjacket Fits, Music Video, 1993

This is one of four videos directed by Kiwi-born Andrew Dominik for band Straitjacket Fits. The brooding, disdainful 'Cat Inna Can' was the first single from the the Fits' third album, Blow, recorded in LA after the departure of guitarist Andrew Brough. The meowing guitars are matched with circling, swooping camerawork, in a video shot in a Sydney warehouse and cooling tower. Dominik went on to direct acclaimed crime films Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Killing Them Softly — the latter two starring Brad Pitt.

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Cactus Cat

Look Blue Go Purple, Music Video, 1986

In this charming clip Look Blue Go Purple show they know how to do video clip clowning around as well as the Flying Nun menfolk. It features the Nun trademark grainy imagery, and a touch of Len Lye-style film scratching. Not surprisingly for a song called 'Cactus Cat', there are lots of shots of cactuses and cats, both real and animated. Assorted early Flying Nun luminaries make guest appearances, including a young Robert Scott. Watch out for the so-not-LA Dunedin take on the handbag dog.

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Artist

When The Cat's Away

Vocal group When the Cat's Away formed after Debbie Harwood, Dianne Swann, Annie Crummer and Margaret Urlich got together at the 1985 Music Awards and found common cause in a male dominated industry. Kim Willoughby was added as a fifth member; and, despite criticism for their reliance on cover songs, they enjoyed major commercial success — as chart toppers with 'Melting Pot' in 1988 and as one of NZ's biggest live acts of the late 80s. They disbanded in 1990. The cats reformed in 2001 (without Swann), touring and releasing a live album with Sharon O'Neill.

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Interview

Sandy Houston: Dinosaurs, dalmatians and a cat called Koko...

Camera and Editing – Jess Charlton

The globetrotting Sandy Houston began her career in animation and visual effects, after she left New Zealand for London. In the 90s she joined powerhouse American effects company ILM and Walt Disney Pictures, then Weta Digital in 2003. En route, she worked on a number of landmark films in modern visual effects, including Jurassic Park, the Oscar-winning Avatar, and Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong.

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Collection

Cats and Dogs

Curated by NZ On Screen team

New Zealand has a fine tradition of Kiwi canines on screen. Felines, however, can be a little trickier to wrangle when the cameras roll. This collection celebrates our favourite screen cats and dogs – somewhat weighted toward the latter. From Spot to Dog, plus Rastus, Hairy Maclary, Scarface Claw, and much more. We can’t forget “Bugger", a canine that drives or classic series A Dog’s Show – man and his dog (plus sheep) proving a winning formula for Kiwi TV gold in the 1980s. So Sit! Watch. And enjoy a purrfect canine and feline mix...