Greenstone

Emma Paki, Music Video, 1994

Released as the follow-up to Emma Paki’s acclaimed debut (‘System Virtue’) this song was produced by Neil Finn. It made it to five on the local charts. Prolific music video director Kerry Brown (Four Seasons in One Day, AEIOU) helms the redemption story. Paki — in full-colour and fern headdress — sings about the power of pounamu, while actor Cliff Curtis (Once Were Warriors, Fear the Living Dead) plays a roadie adrift in the city in black and white. When things go awry on K Road outside McDonalds, Curtis heads to the bush for spiritual succour from Paki in a waterfall.

Series

Greenstone

Television, 1999

Greenstone is the tale of a beautiful, missionary-educated Māori woman (Simone Kessell) whose romantic life is subject to the shifting loyalties of her father, Chief Te Manahau (George Henare). The cross-cultural elements of this ambitious colonial bodice-ripper were reflected off-screen as well: created by Greg McGee in response to a call by TV One for a local drama 'saga', the series saw major English creative input through being developed as a co-production with the BBC. After the withdrawal of BBC funding, the Tainui Corporation helped fund the eight-part series.

Greenstone - First Episode

Television, 1999 (Excerpts)

Greenstone is the tale of a Māori woman whose beauty is used as a pawn by her ambitious father, Chief Te Manahau. In episode one, the missionary-educated Marama (Simone Kessell) travels to England with her father (George Henare), who sets about arranging an arms deal while she falls for their English host, ex-military man Sir Geoffrey Halford. Created for TV One by Greg McGee, the ambitious series was initially developed as a co-production between local company Communicado and the BBC. Local iwi Tainui helped fund the series, after the BBC withdrew.

Interview

John Harris: Long-time Greenstone owner...

Interview, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside

John Harris was the long-time owner of one of New Zealand’s biggest production companies: Greenstone Pictures. He began his television career at TVNZ working in news and current affairs and helped launch Top Half. Moving into the private sector he produced a number of TV shows including That’s Fairly Interesting and Heroes. In 1994 he created Greenstone Pictures, and went on to produce a huge range of TV shows such as The Zoo; Epitaph; Motorway Patrol; and Neighbours at War. In 2010 Greenstone acquired the production company Cream Media, and more recently Harris has sold Greenstone.

Mercury Lane - Series Two, Episode Two

Television, 2003 (Full Length)

Mercury Lane was a story-driven arts show that generally included a cluster of short documentaries, poetry and musical performances in each hour-long episode. This episode of the Greenstone-produced arts series features Sam Hunt interviewing acclaimed New Zealand poet Alistair Te Ariki Campbell. Campbell discusses his early childhood in the Cook Islands as the child of a Pākehā father and Polynesian mother, and reads a selection of poems. The programme ends with Auckland pianist Tamas Vesmas playing a Debussy prelude at the Auckland Art Gallery.

Cave Creek: The Full Story of a National Tragedy

Television, 1998 (Excerpts)

On 28 April 1995, the collapse of a viewing platform at Cave Creek, in Paparoa National Park on the West Coast, caused 17 students and a Department of Conservation Field Centre manager to plunge 40 metres into a chasm. 14 died, and four were injured. The documentary (from which NZ On Screen has three excerpts)  explores what happened and why, with accounts by family members, survivors, and DoC staff. Made three years after the tragedy, the programme looked at its lasting impact on those left behind. It won Best Documentary at the 1998 NZ Television Awards. 

Bella

Short Film, 1998 (Full Length)

During a stint in prison for importing drugs, Bill Payne reinvented himself and became a writer. Payne went on to write Staunch (an acclaimed non-fiction book about gangs), short stories, a play, and two short films. Bella was the first. It follows life behind bars for Bella (Mitch Thomas), a defiantly proud transsexual and part-time tattooist, whose mere presence arouses the ire of one of the prison guards. But the guard's taunts are more complicated than they appear. The guard is played by Tim Gordon, who would later play All Blacks coach Graham Henry in telemovie The Kick.

The Kiwi Who Saved Britain

Television, 2010 (Excerpts)

Kiwi-born Keith Park commanded the Royal Air Force division which defended London during the Battle of Britain. His command is dramatised in this Greenstone telemovie. Historians Stephen Bungay and Vincent Orange offer accounts of what happened, alongside archive footage from World War ll. This excerpt sees Park hosting Winston Churchill as his forces are stretched to breaking point by a German attack. After returning home, Park went on to chair the Auckland International Airport Committee and serve as an Auckland City Councillor. John Callen directs and narrates.

Shipwreck - The Wreck of the Orpheus

Television, 2000 (Full Length Episode)

On 7 February 1863, the worst maritime disaster in New Zealand history occurred. British warship HMS Orpheus ran aground on a notorious sandbar at Manukau Heads, with the loss of 189 of the 259 onboard. Directed by John Milligan (Trio at the Top), this documentary was part of a series examining the country’s worst wrecks. Presented by Paul Gittins, it discusses the disaster, its cause, and the consequent investigations. While the British admiralty laid blame on the harbourmaster, local Māori interpreted the wreck as utu, for a breach of tapu by a Pākehā settler the previous day.

Taonga: Til Death Do Us Part

Television, 2005 (Full Length Episode)

A taonga in Māori culture is a treasured thing, whether tangible (eg a letter, photo, or heirloom) or intangible (eg a family story). Māori Television series Taonga wove documentary techniques with re-enactments, to tell stories of taonga. This full-length episode sees the arrival of a dramatic telegram for a woman (Miriama McDowell from Hope and Wire) whose husband (Tama Tū's Taungaroa Emile) is off fighting during World War ll. Michael Bennett was nominated for a Qantas Award for Best Non-Drama Direction for the episode.