Jonathan Dennis

Archivist, Producer, Radio Presenter

Described by author Emma Jean Kelly as a flamboyant "champion of New Zealand culture", Jonathan Dennis was the founding director of The Film Archive in 1981 and led the organisation into a bicultural era. Dennis, who headed the Film Archive for nine years, was praised for making films more accessible. He also made documentaries (Mouth Wide Open, Mana Waka) and presented Radio New Zealand's Film Show.

Collection

The Paul Holmes Collection

Curated by NZ On Screen team

"Those were our people today, and that's Holmes tonight" went the sign-off to Paul Holmes' long-running current affairs show. This collection is a screen tribute to the broadcaster's sometimes controversial, always colourful career. As Jason Gunn writes: "From Dennis Conner's walkout to MPs' moans and groans / You lit up all our living rooms, you made our house a Holmes".

Collection

Legendary NZ TV Moments

Curated by NZ On Screen team

This collection celebrates the legendary moments that New Zealanders — huddled around the telly — gawked at, chortled with, and choked on our Choysa over as they played out on our screens. "There's a generation who remember where they were when JFK was shot", but as Paul Casserly asks in his collection primer, "where were you when Thingee's eye popped out?"

Radio with Pictures - Wellington 1982

Television, 1982 (Excerpts)

“You get the impression that Wellington wants an audience but doesn’t want to be seen to be trying too hard to get one”. This report surveys 1982's local music scene, framing tensions between an energetic politically-conscious underground, and commercial rock and pop (i.e. Auckland). Not all is positive, with complaints about lack of venues and promotion, and violence at gigs. Interviewees include Mocker Andrew Fagan, Nino Birch (Beat Rhythm Fashion), Dennis O’Brien, Ian Morris, promoter Graeme Nesbitt (in Radio Windy sweatshirt) and punk singer Void (Riot 111).

Holmes - First Episode

Television, 1989 (Excerpts)

The very first Holmes show. In this famous interview, Paul Holmes asks American yachtsman Dennis Conner to apologise for cheating in the America's Cup. Conner storms out, making headlines the next day and giving the new show a ratings boost. The NZ Herald described this interview as "an aggressive, overly-mannered encounter interview rather than a thoughtful interrogation, a ratings-generating event rather than a genuine, tenacious journalistic grilling." It was a style that made Holmes famous.

Dave Dobbyn - One Night in Matatā

Television, 2005 (Full Length)

After floods swept through the Bay of Plenty town of Matatā in May 2005, musician Dave Dobbyn decided to drop by and see how the locals were doing. One Night in Matata is built around a free concert which Dobbyn and his band performed during the visit. Also included are conversations with townspeople, about the day heavy rains caused torrents of water and debris to sweep through Matatā. Dobbyn remains upbeat, praising the locals for their kindness and community spirit. Later some of the local children join him on stage for 'Slice of Heaven'. 

Perfectly Frank - The Life of a New Zealand Writer

Television, 1998 (Full Length)

Biographer Michael King takes us through the life of pioneering writer Frank Sargeson: from puritanical parents to self-discovery in London, through to decades encouraging an emerging tide of New Zealand writers. The documentary’s most priceless moments are the tales told when four of those writers return to Sargeson’s fabled fibrolite bach, in Takapuna. Kevin Ireland calls it an “oasis, this marvellous place where books ruled supreme”. Sargeson’s purposefuly minimalistic writing style, the doco argues, helped NZ literature find its own voice.

How D'ye Do Mr Governor

Television, 1989 (Full Length)

This TVNZ production screened at the end of 1989, just before the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Filmed at Government House, presenter Ian Johnstone oversees passionate kōrero as a panel of youngsters, academics and Māori and Pākehā elders debate the place of New Zealand’s founding document. Don Selwyn and Angela D’Audney explore its history, and Sir Paul Reeves begins by musing on chief Te Kemara’s famous about-turn, when, after first opposing the Treaty, he turned to Hobson and said: “How d’ye do Mr Governor”.

This is Your Life - Lance Cairns

Television, 1999 (Full Length Episode)

Host Paul Holmes looks back on the life of “the Colin Meads of cricket” — the big hearted, Excalibur-wielding Lance Cairns; although the celebration is just as often of his enthusiastic fondness for the game’s social side. A cavalcade of cricket stars (Chappell, Botham, Lillee, Marsh, Hadlee, Coney, Chatfield, Crowe and son Chris) reminisce — with the remarkable sixes in his innings at Melbourne in 1983 coming in for special attention. Cairns’ profound deafness and the death of his daughter in a level crossing accident provide a more serious note.

Live at Mainstreet - The Narcs and Coconut Rough

Television, 1983 (Full Length Episode)

Live from Auckland's Mainstreet Cabaret, this Radio with Pictures special showcases bands Coconut Rough and The Narcs. Coconut Rough open their six song set with an instrumental and close with 'Sierra Leone', after proving they're much more than one hit wonders. RWP host Karyn Hay then introduces the "high energy rock" of The Narcs. The driving keyboards of second track 'Look the Other Way' hint at how the band's sound was broadening. Label CBS released both gigs as album Whistle While You Work, which reached number 17 in the New Zealand charts.