Collection

Five Decades of NZ Number One Hits

Curated by NZ On Screen team

This collection rounds up almost every music video for a number one hit by a Kiwi artist; everything from ballads to hip hop to glam rock. Press on the images below to find the hits for each decade  — plus try this backgrounder by Michael Higgins, whose high speed history of local hits touches on the sometimes questionable ways past charts were created.  

Live at Mainstreet montage

Television, 1983 (Excerpts)

Dressed as a 1920's flapper bride, Karyn Hay introduces highlights from the TVNZ rock show’s televised concerts at the now demolished Mainstreet Cabaret on Auckland's Queen Street. The songs are Dance Exponents' 'All I Can Do' (with a sweaty Jordan Luck), an impassioned 'Billy Bold' from Graham Brazier's Legionnaires, Hip Singles' 'After the Party' (with snappy high kicks from Dick Driver), a brassy 'Outlook for Thursday' from Dave Dobbyn's DD Smash, a rocking 'Look the Other Way' from The Narcs and Coconut Rough's moment in the sun 'Sierra Leone'.

Radio with Pictures - Christchurch 1982

Television, 1982 (Excerpts)

The Christchurch music scene of 1982 gets a once-over in this Radio With Pictures report. Rob White of The Star acts as critic and guide, describing what’s hot in the South Island’s biggest city. A young Richard Driver provides his insights into what makes Christchurch bands so good, while various out-of-towners marvel at the quality of the lighting and sound in the local live scene. Amongst the local bands in the spotlight are The Narcs, the short-lived Thanks to Llamas and the Dance Exponents, who less than four months before this appearance had released their debut single 'Victoria'.

Toy Love

Film, 2002 (Trailer and Excerpts)

The third feature from writer/director Harry Sinclair (The Price of Milk, Topless Women ...) is a fleet footed anti-romance about sex and infidelity. Love is a game for Ben (Dean O’Gorman), who cheats on girlfriend Emily with ease — until he falls head over heels with unpredictable vixen Chlo (Kate Elliott). When Emily confesses that she too has cheated, Ben self-righteously dumps her and runs to Chlo. But Chlo has a rule: she won’t date available men. To win her love, Ben must be unavailable. This excerpt features much bed hopping and 20-something mat-ters.

Interview

Richard Driver: On his serendipitous TV career...

Interview, Camera and Editing - Andrew Whiteside

Richard Driver began his showbiz career in a punk band, and calling himself Johnny Abort. He then moved on to the popular Kiwi rock bands Pop Mechanix and Hip Singles. Driver made his TV presenting debut replacing Karyn Hay on Radio with Pictures and hosted the show for three years. He later collaborated with Hay making music television for several years, ran the New Zealand arm of Screentime, and then formed his own company called Visionary Productions. Driver has made several influential documentaries such as Hokonui Todd, about the life of Garfield Todd, and Love, Speed and Loss, the story of bike racing star Kim Newcombe and his widow Janeen.

Hip Hop Holiday

3 The Hard Way, Music Video, 1994

Shot in sepia tones with barely a level camera angle on offer, the video for 3 The Hard Way’s single has classic hip hop video written all over it. A cruise around Auckland in the back of a convertible culminates in a guest verse from Bobbylon of Hallelujah Picassos. Back at home, a rugby-loving audience assembles for the song’s second half. The unforgettable hook is inspired by 10cc hit 'Dreadlock Holiday', which proved lucrative for the English band when there were issues around clearing the rights. This was one of the earliest NZ On Air-funded videos for a song that reached number one.  

Impressions

Urban Disturbance, Music Video, 1994

On their second single, future BBC radio star Zane Lowe and his 90s hip-hop crew proclaim themselves to be an expression of their "headphones and kerbstones", as they dedicate themselves to "knocking down the doors of the hip-hop frauds". Director Craig Jackson provides an appropriately urban setting in which the crew voice their declaration. As his footage alternates between monochrome and colour, deserted cityscapes (including the old Auckland Railway Station) combine with drifting, jazzy notes to make for a aptly impressionistic scoring of the streets.

Joined at the Hip Hop

MC OJ and Rhythm Slave, Music Video, 1992

“Unlike Siamese twins who are joined at the hip, we’re joined at the hip-hop…” This 1992 single was the opening track from MC OJ and Rhythm Slave’s What Can We Say? album, released on Murray Cammick’s Southside Records. The duo rap that “we won’t stop until we get enough”, and the hyperactive black and white video captures the youthful energy of the then teenage pair. There’s Converse trainers, turntables, breakdancing, a sinuous silhouette, a ballerina, a hip hop wedding, a massive pillow fight — and some giant trousers that MC and OJ jointly inhabit.

Dreaming

Scribe, Music Video, 2004

After his hard-hitting debut single 'Stand Up' and the hit remix of 'Not Many', Scribe took a gentler approach on the third single from his five times platinum debut album. Rolling clouds open the music video, which trades bombastic beats and ominous synth tones for gentler piano. The chart-topping hook, originally written for Che Fu, was sung by Scribe himself after encouragement from collaborator P-Money. Photos from Scribe’s childhood appear on screen while he raps about the struggle to realise his potential, before glimpses of 'making of' footage from previous videos.

Artist

Misfits of Science

Misfits of Science was the result of a chance meeting in 2000 in a Queen Street clothing store between Stephen McQuinn (MC Optimus) from Waiuku and South African born Yudhi Moodley (Colossus). Bonding over a shared love of hip hop, they took their name from an obscure 80s sitcom and released their first single ‘Fool’s Love’ in 2003. It reflected their twisted sense of humour and lack of interest in gangster hip hop - and spent four weeks at number one on the singles chart. An album followed but subsequent singles failed to match that initial success.