This TVNZ doco chronicles New Zealand’s participation in 18 Empire and Commonwealth Games — beginning at Hamilton, Canada in 1930 when a Kiwi team of 18 participated in four sports. A cavalcade of gold medallists (including Yvette Williams, Dick Tayler, Anna Simcic and Neroli Fairhall) recall their glory days at the event which was set up to be “merrier and less stern” than The Olympics. Special emphasis is placed on the three New Zealand-hosted Games: at Auckland in 1950 and 1990, and Christchurch in 1974 (which hastened the local arrival of colour television).
This long-running chat show gathered a loyal following for its recipe of sports fandom mixed with playful pratfalls. Regulars in the circus wrangled by producer Ric Salizzo included larrikin ex-All Black Marc Ellis, straight girl Lana Coc-Kroft, 'That Guy' Leigh Hart, and Graeme Hill. This 23 November 2005 final features plenty of sporting guest stars and ‘best of’ moments: from World Nude Day to a litany of laddish moments from Ellis. Rumours of presenter intoxication would only have been stirred by the mayhem of the closing set destruction, accompanied by band The Exponents.
This 1992 TV One documentary follows the All Blacks on their first post-apartheid visit to South Africa. The footy tour tomfoolery of producer Ric Salizzo’s earlier All Blacks docos is subbed off for reflections on politics and sport from players — including ex-All Black Ken Gray, who refused to tour the republic in 1970 and joined protesters in 1981. Not all goes to script for a “new South Africa”: the Afrikaans anthem is played before the Ellis Park test, and the All Blacks win. Future South Africa cricket star Herschelle Gibbs is a young coloured player mentored by the ABs.
Bill McCarthy’s wide-ranging television career spans 50 years and counting. McCarthy won a keen following when he anchored coverage of the 1974 Commonwealth Games. After five years presenting Television One’s network news (alternating with Dougal Stevenson), he became a producer and director, and did time as TVNZ’s head of sports. McCarthy set up his own company in 1990, and continues to make shows for cable television.
After playing Tane Samuels — nephew of fan favourite TK Samuels — on Shortland Street in 2007, Dominic Ona-Ariki took a break from screen acting. He'd previously had another lead role — as the time-travelling Fred on sci-fi series P.E.T. Detectives. From 2016 he became a regular on New Zealand screens — he acted on Filthy Rich, and played All Black Eric Rush on mini-series Jonah. He went on to take the lead role in local detective drama One Lane Bridge (due in 2020), as a detective with spiritual gifts. Ona-Ariki's big screen roles include 2017 comedy Gary of the Pacific, and 2019 gang drama Savage.
After time as a sports reporter for both radio and TVNZ, Ric Salizzo spent time as media liaison officer for the All Blacks, and formed his own production company on the back of light-hearted rugby tour documentaries The Good, the Bad and the Rugby, and Blood, Sweat and Touring. In 1996 he created and co-hosted the long-running sports entertainment show SportsCafe.
Michael Horton's CV reads like a potted history of the Kiwi film renaissance. His editing work includes classic films Goodbye Pork Pie, Smash Palace, Utu and Once Were Warriors. In 2003 Horton's talents won international recognition, when he was Oscar-nominated for his editing on Tolkien epic The Two Towers.
With Hunter's Gold, Gather Your Dreams and Children of Fire Mountain, Roger Simpson blazed a successful trail for Kiwi drama shows aimed at a younger audience. Though he has written further New Zealand projects, Simpson relocated to Australia in the early 70s. Since then he has written and produced on a long run of television dramas, most often alongside producing partner Roger Le Mesurier.