South Pacific Pictures marked its 30th anniversary in 2018. With drama production at its core, this collection highlights the production company’s prodigious output. The collection spans everything from Marlin Bay to Westside — including hit movies Sione's Wedding and Whale Rider — plus the long-running and beloved Shortland Street. In the backgrounder, longtime SPP boss John Barnett reminisces, and charts the company’s history.
After countless romances, breakups and revelations — plus the odd psycho and crashing helicopter — Shortland Street turned 25 in May 2017. Made on the run, sold round the globe, the Kiwi soap opera juggernaut has provided a launchpad for dozens of actors and behind the scenes talents. Alongside best of clips, the very first episode, musical moments and favourite memories from the cast, Shortland star turned director Angela Bloomfield writes about how the show has changed here, while Mihi Murray backgrounds how it began — and how it reflects New Zealand.
In this June 1993 final of the successful quiz show, returning contestant Tony competes for a hand-knitted rug, a $16,000 US trip, and a box possibly containing a $29,000 Mitsubishi Mirage. Facing off against him are a policy services officer, and a hotshot language tutor who lived seven years in a barn. Aside from the nailbiting question rounds, highlights include Steve Parr’s opening slide, Jude Dobson’s dress, and male models in bright yellow overalls. This episode marked the end of Sale’s first local incarnation, after 1000 plus episodes on air. A short rebirth followed on TV3.
The Kiwi edition of Sale of the Century is perhaps best remembered for Steve Parr’s opening slide to the podium. Prize-winners may have different recollections. “New Zealand’s biggest bargain sale” dangled the possibility of new cars and overseas travel. The show debuted in the United States in 1969, but had its greatest success after a 1980 relaunch by Australian company Grundy. The Aussie version ran almost 30 years, spawning versions in multiple countries. The NZ edition played for four seasons on TVNZ, before a short rebirth on TV3.
Debra Kelleher is an award-winning drama and entertainment producer who has worked on both sides of the Tasman. Beginning her career with Grundy Productions, she worked on a number of Australian TV shows including Neighbours, Sale of the Century and Perfect Match. Back in New Zealand, Kelleher has produced everything from Dancing with the Stars and Good Morning, to sci fi hit The Tribe.
Television producer Gavin Wood has worked on some of New Zealand’s biggest game shows and live events. His first producing role saw him bring Sale of the Century to our screens, which was soon joined by Wheel of Fortune. His career path led him from TVNZ to TV3, then offshore working for FremantleMedia. Returning to New Zealand, Wood turned his producing talents to the third season of New Zealand Idol, TV coverage of the state funeral of Sir Paul Reeves, and the Pike River and Christchurch earthquake memorial services.
Shortland Street is a fast-paced serial drama set in an inner city Auckland hospital. The long-running South Pacific Pictures production is based around the births, deaths and marriages of the hospital's staff and patients. It screens on TVNZ’s TV2 network five days a week. In 2017 the show was set to celebrate its 25th anniversary, making it New Zealand’s longest running drama by far. Characters and lines from the show have entered the culture — starting with “you’re not in Guatemala now, Dr Ropata!” in the very first episode. Mihi Murray writes about Shortland Street here.
Wellington-raised producer Debra Kelleher has more than three decades experience in the screen industry. She cut her production teeth in Australia (Neighbours, Sale of the Century), before returning home to work on Shortland Street, then cult teen show The Tribe. Kelleher was at the helm of breakfast TV show Good Morning, and five seasons of flagship TVNZ show Dancing with The Stars.
Award-winning scribe Gavin Strawhan is one of the most experienced screenwriters working in New Zealand television. His extended resume includes writing for, and helping create TV shows Nothing Trivial, Filthy Rich, Jackson's Wharf, Mercy Peak, Burying Brian, kidult hit Being Eve, Kaitangata Twitch and futuristic thriller This is Not My Life. He also co-wrote 2010 feature film Matariki.
Tangata Whenua, A State of Siege, Utu, Smash Palace, The Quiet Earth, Illustrious Energy...The resume of soundman turned producer Don Reynolds covers the modern renaissance of New Zealand film. After starting his own sound companies, Reynolds has gone on to production roles in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.