This collection celebrates Kiwi comedy on TV: the caricatures, piss-takes, and sitcoms that have cracked us up, and pulled the wool over our eyes for over five decades. From turkeys in gumboots and Fred Dagg, to Billy T, bro'Town and Jaquie Brown. As Diana Wichtel reflects, watching the evolution of native telly laughs is, "a rich and ridiculous, if often painful, pleasure."
In November 1970 a New Zealand tourism fashion presentation designed for Australian audiences took place at Auckland Museum. Dancing models wore traditional Māori motifs, combined with contemporary fashion — then still a novelty. The designs include work by Kowhai Knitwear's Janice Hopper and Ann Rupe (who is heard on the soundtrack). Rupe had won the Coat and Suit section at the New Zealand Fashion Showcase '69, aged 20. The Taniko motifs were painstakingly beaded or individually painted on to the garments, rather than screen-printed.
This collection, launched to honour 10 years of NZ Fashion Week, celebrates Kiwi fashion on screen. From TV showpieces (B&H, Corbans) to docos on designers; Gloss to archive gold, from Swannies to Split Enz, taniko to foot fetish ... take a stroll down the catwalk of our sartorial screen past. Beauties include ex-Miss Universe Lorraine Downes and a teenage Rachel Hunter.
Olly Ohlson inspired a generation of kids on five a day a week show After School. He is credited with introducing both te reo and sign language to children's television. His legendary catchphrase 'Keep cool till after school' is still remembered by fans.
Takatāpui was the world's first indigenous gay, lesbian and transgender series. This 2005 Takatāpui Gay Xmas Special was hosted by the show's presenters Taane Mete, Tania Simon and Ramon Te Wake. It included guest performances from transgender MP Georgina Beyer, dancer Taiaroa Royal, designer and singer Linda E, the late Māori diva Mahinaarangi Tocker, Dee Za Star and many more. The show was produced by Front of the Box Productions for Māori Television.
In this Koha story, reporter Temuera Morrison arrives on the East Coast to watch the making of Mauri, the first dramatic feature directed solo by a Māori woman. Writer/director Merata Mita argues that the 50s set drama is "about birth and death, and all that takes place between", and talks about how the film is important in giving Māori filmmaking experience, and a voice on screen. Actors Zac Wallace (Utu) and Eva Rickard are interviewed, while locals talk about the challenges of making movies. There are also glimpses of some of the Ralph Hotere-designed sets.
Olly Ohlson is a pioneer of Māori language and Māori content on local television. As longtime presenter on daily children's show After School, his catchphrase “Keep cool till after school” (with accompanying sign language) was known to a generation of New Zealanders.
Tania Simon spent four years as co-host of Takatāpui, the world’s first television show aimed at indigenous gay, lesbian and transgender viewers. Her acting resume includes Shortland Street and the starring role in 1993 short Peach, opposite Lucy Lawless. Simon is also a longtime sign language interpreter who has interpreted on TV; in 2009 she directed documentary He Māori He Turi, about NZ’s 110,000 Māori deaf.
Award-winning journalist Mihingarangi Forbes has spent 20+ years working in television, reporting in both te reo and English. Feilding-raised Forbes began her career as an intern on Te Karere, before moving to One News, Campbell Live, 20/20 and Native Affairs. She resigned from Māori Television in 2015, claiming she'd lost control over her stories, and began presenting Three's new current affairs show The Hui in 2016.
The idea that New Zealanders often take for granted the depth of talent in the local screen industry is well illustrated by the career of Flux Animation founder Brent Chambers. Most Kiwis would have seen at least one example of his prolific output, yet few would be able to put a face or a name to his work. Chambers was tireless in building a competitive and viable international business, with a distinct local identity.