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The City And The Suburb (part two)

Television, 1983 (Full Length)

This 1983 Hamish Keith-presented documentary is subtitled 'Housing New Zealand in the Twentieth Century'. Part two picks up from Michael Joseph Savage’s 1930s state housing scheme. Keith argues that as the emphasis shifted from renting to owning, middle class suburbia became the foundation of Kiwi postwar aspirations. He looks at changing demographics in the cities — as home owners fled on newly built motorways — and argues that the suburban ideal has become bland and out of reach, as New Zealand once again becomes a country of “mean streets and mansions”.

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Chinks, Coconuts and Curry-munchers

Television, 2002 (Full Length)

This 2002 documentary explores contemporary Aotearoa from the perspective of Kiwis from a range of different (non-Māori, non-Pākehā) ethnic backgrounds. These citizens speak frankly about their experience of assimilation and stereotyping in a supposedly multicultural society, where ethnic food is beloved — but not ethnic difference — and where jokes and racism blur. Directed by Libby Hakaraia, the documentary screened on TV3 as part of doco slot Inside New Zealand. It was a follow up to 2000's The Truth about Māori, which looked at identity from a Māori perspective.

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Smiling Again

Television, 1991 (Full Length)

A law change in the 1980s gave mentally-handicapped children the right to be educated at New Zealand state schools. This 1991 doco examines the pros and cons of mainstreaming special needs children, by looking at the schooling of severely brain-damaged child Jessica Palmer. Teachers both for and against mainstreaming are interviewed, alongside Jessica's parents. Palmer's teacher Sue Dunleavy admits there have been noise issues at times, but thanks to Jessica's presence her classmates have "learnt acceptance and caring and understanding, and it's taken the fear away."

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What Really Happened - Waitangi

Television, 2011 (Full Length)

This docudrama follows an imaginary news reporter who travels back in time to cover the days leading up to the Treaty of Waitangi’s signing on 6 February 1840. Dropping the usual solemnity surrounding Aotearoa’s founding document, it uses humour and asides to camera to evoke the chaos and motives behind the treaty. Written by Gavin Strawhan, with input from novelist Witi Ihimaera, What Really Happened screened on TVNZ for Waitangi Day 2011. Its nominations at the Aotearoa TV Awards included Best Drama, director (Peter Burger) and actor Jarod Rawiri (who played Hōne Heke). 

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Shortland Street - The end of Lionel?

Television, 1999 (Excerpts)

For much of the 90s, hospital cafe manager Lionel Skeggins (John Leigh) was Shortland Street’s beloved nice guy. He fell in and out of love with Kirsty (their true soap romance included amnesia and a plane crash) before making this exit in March 1999. Lionel had been married to Mackenzie Choat (Ingrid Park) for just a week before learning of her dodgy past; he was fleeing her at the beach when he encountered a wave. His demise made 2016 NZ Herald and Stuff lists of the show’s memorable deaths, but the body was never recovered. Is Lionel the Street’s ultimate missing person?

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Spot On - Final Episode

Television, 1988 (Full Length Episode)

Beloved by 70s and 80s era Kiwi kids, Spot On mixed educational items and entertainment. For the final episode, broadcast live on Christmas Day 1988, guest host Bob Parker celebrates the show’s 15 years by tracking down almost every Spot On presenter. There are also clips of fondly remembered sketches and adventures, set to pop hits of the day. The roll call of presenters includes Phil Keoghan, Ian Taylor, Danny Watson, Erin Dunleavy, Ole Maiava, Helen McGowan and the late Marcus Turner. Spot On won Best Children’s Programme at the 1988 Listener Film and TV awards.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Film, 2014 (Trailer)

Touted as the defining chapter of the trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies sees Smaug wreaking havoc from the sky, Thorin Oakenshield succumbing to dragon-sickness, and a climactic battle to dwarf anything seen in the first two Hobbit films. As Orcs look to the Lonely Mountain with their eyes on the treasure, dwarves, elves and humans must decide whether to unite and fight them off. The final Hobbit film arrived in cinemas 15 years after Peter Jackson first trained his cameras on Middle-earth — and made it clear that global blockbusters could come from New Zealand. 

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Woodville (Episode Six)

Web, 2013 (Full Length Episode)

This six-part web series about a small town rising up against big business reaches its heartwarming conclusion in this episode. Sid (Byron Coll), is shooting the last few scenes of his doco on the proud Tararua town (including one with a frisky dog which is meant to be dying). Bella (Vanessa Stacey) makes her entrance as the Brockovich-ian lawyer who saves the day. As the town gathers for an open-air screening of the finished film, Sid gets another chance at love. Woodville, written by Christopher Brandon, was selected for London’s Raindance Festival in 2013.  

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Woodville (Episode Five)

Web, 2013 (Full Length Episode)

In the penultimate episode of this six-part web series written by Christopher Brandon, Byron Coll’s Sid is heartbroken after the loss of his leading lady Jane (Hayley Sproull), and he's considering throwing in the towel of his doco about Woodville’s epic battle against a Belgian petrochemical corporation. That is, until he discovers the whole town is rooting for him. Highlights include Bro (Jack Sergent-Shadbolt) waxing philosophical and Mr Baker (Don Langridge) uttering his first word of the series. 

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Woodville (Episode Four)

Web, 2013 (Full Length Episode)

Sid (Byron Coll) is somewhat distracted in this fourth instalment of online mini-comedy Woodville, when he meets his Uncle Clive’s beautiful assistant Jane (Hayley Sproull) to discuss a role in his documentary about the town’s heroic battle against a Belgian petrochemical corporation. Things get serious on set, with a proper table read in which Jane reveals her acting talent recently honed in the Whakatane production The Death of Di and Dodi. This NZ On Air-funded six-part series was selected for London’s Raindance Festival in 2013.