Presented by William Shatner, A Twist In The Tale was an anthology series with each episode featuring a new story for Shatner to tell a group of children gathered round the fireplace. In this adventure, a freak storm causes a strange girl (Westside's Antonia Prebble) to appear in a boy’s bedroom cupboard, only to discover she’s travelled back in time 100 years. When some futuristic technology goes missing and the family farm ends up on the line, the children must put their differences aside. The episode also features a memorable appearance by Craig Parker as the family's accountant.
This report from 80s current affairs show Close Up introduces the New Zealand public to future Prime Minister Jim Bolger — shortly after the “lightning coup” that saw him unseating urban lawyer Jim McLay, to become leader of the National Party. The focus is on Bolger’s rural roots as a father and farmer. There is also praise from political historian Barry Gustafson, and a mini journalistic joust with ex PM Robert Muldoon, over whether he supports the new party leader. In 1987 Labour was re-elected for another term; Bolger’s party swept to victory in 1990.
Another all in one shot beauty from director Joe Lonie, this gorgeously-crafted video was filmed in and around the historic St Stephen's Chapel above Auckland's Judges Bay and Parnell Baths. The camera floats through pohutukawa trees and Auckland pioneer gravestones as an ubiquitous Liam Finn exhorts everyone to gather by the chapel. The tiny, elegant church in question was built by Bishop Selwyn, and as it turns out, just around the corner from where Finn grew up. 'Gather to the Chapel' appears on his first solo album, 2007's I'll Be Lightning.
A grainy low-fi look belies the intricacies of this music video by Christchurch indie pop rockers Tiger Tones. The look of super-8 film and the bulk of the video being shot out the window of a moving car almost convince that it’s a simply recut homevideo. The subtly CG titles, slo-mo close ups of the band and lightning cuts matching the rapidly shrieking guitar suggest however, that something a bit more clever is at play. At the time of the song’s release Tiger Tunes had won Best Breakthrough Act at the 2007 bNet Awards, and were in the process of releasing their debut album.
Shot by photographer Brian Brake as a NFU tourism promo, Snows of Aorangi surveys New Zealand's mountain landscapes. Brake captures stunning imagery: ethereal ice forests, lightning storms, volcanic craters, glaciers, avalanches, kea. Three skiers are mesmerising as they scythe downhill from Almer Hut: "for a little while they've given themselves to the rhythm of sky and earth" runs the James K Baxter-scripted narration. It was the first NZ film to compete for an Oscar, nominated in the Best Short Subject (Live Action) category in 1959.
This short animated comedy offers up a pre-Wellywood tale of Hollywood coming down under. In the fictional West Coast town of Whatawhopa, a horror movie film crew has arrived to take advantage of the town's persistent rain. When the forecast fails, the town’s lazy fire fighters — “burning and yearning for a fire”— are finally sparked into action. The National Film Unit production was directed by Bob Stenhouse (Oscar-nominated for The Frog, the Dog and the Devil) who is clearly relishing the chance to go to town on scenes of rain, lightning, fire and monsters with droopy eyes.
Bob Stenhouse worked largely alone to visualise this luminously-animated ode to the "nation of drunkards" (as New Zealand was tagged in the House of Lords in 1838). A shepherd tricks a Mackenzie barman out of a bottle of ‘Hokonui Lightning', but too much pioneer spirit sees him haunted by the devil's daughter. In 1986 Frog was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short; later an animation festival in Annecy, France judged it one of the best animated films made that century. A short 'making of' clip at the end offers hints of the hard work behind the film's distinctive look.
In 2007 Rolling Stone magazine named Liam Finn as one of that year's top ten ‘artists to watch' and explained that if you mixed a bit of Elliot Smith with a touch of despair and added a leprechaun, Finn would be the result. Accompanied by such applause, the singer-songwriter has assuredly stepped out of his famous father Neil's shadow, thanks to his achievements with the band Betchdupa, formed in 1997, and the success of his solo albums I'll Be Lightning (which Q magazine named one of the 50 best albums of 2007), FOMO (2011) and The Nihilist (2014).
Angela Bloomfield made a splash on Shortland Street when she first joined the show as messed up teenager Rachel McKenna. Over her long stint on the series, her character has battled bulimia, survived a lightning strike and recovered from alcoholism. Once voted NZ’s sexiest TV star, she has acted in the films Bonjour Timothy and Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners, and appeared in the TV shows Ride with the Devil, and Dancing with the Stars. As well as acting, Bloomfield has directed episodes of Shortland Street, Jackson’s Wharf and Go Girls.
Barry Barclay — director of landmark TV series Tangata Whenua and feature film Ngati — was a longtime campaigner for the right of indigenous people to tell their own stories, to their own people. In 2004 he was made an Arts Foundation Laureate, and in 2007 a Member of the NZ Order of Merit. Barclay passed away on 19 February 2008, after publishing his acclaimed book Mana Tuturu.