It started with grunge and ended with Spice Girls; Di died, Clinton didn't inhale and the All Blacks were poisoned. On screen, Ice TV and Havoc were for the kids and a grown-up Kiwi cinema delivered a powerful triple punch. Tua's linguistic jab proved just as memorable, Tem got a geography lesson and Thingee's eye popped and reverberated around our living rooms.
Thus linguistic collection takes a look at sux — nah, make that seven — pieces of fentestic New Zealand television that focus on the Kiwi ecceent. Accent on Kiwi includes a compilation that compresses 21 years of local TV news reading into four minutes, Karyn Hay — who shocked New Zealand, by daring to front Radio With Pictures speaking in her own accent — Billy T James taking on varied voices, classic Kiwi put-down “Jeez, Wayne”, and John Clarke going Face to Face with Kim Hill, as he remembers Kiwi bloke Fred Dagg. Beaut!
New Zealand's unique accent is often derided across the dutch for its vowel-mangling pronunciation ("sex fush'n'chups", anyone?) and being too fast-paced for tourists and Elton John to understand. In this documentary Jim Mora follows the evolution of New Zealand English, from the "colonial twang" to Billy T James. Linguist Elizabeth Gordon explains the infamous HRT (High Rising Terminal) at the end of sentences, and Mora interprets such phrases as "air gun" ("how are you going?"). Lynn of Tawa also features, in an accent face-off with Sam Neill and Judy Bailey.
Jackie van Beek's CV is as impressive as it is long — she's a respected actor, writer, and director across comedy and drama, for stage, television and film.
John Milligan is an award-winning producer, director and writer who has worked on a wide range of shows for television. His many series credits include Maggie’s Garden Show, Epitaph, Shipwreck and Mucking In. Milligan was also producer and director of the documentaries Trio at the Top, New Zild and Von Tempsky’s Ghost.
Tom Finlayson has worked in television in almost every capacity: as a reporter and producer in the cauldron of daily news, developing and producing classic drama shows (Under the Mountain, Mortimer's Patch) and movies, directing documentaries (The Party's Over) — as well as commissioning programmes, during a three year stint as TVNZ’s Director of Production.
After time as a reporter and radio producer, Judy Callingham became one of the first women in New Zealand to make her mark as a television scriptwriter (Close to Home, Gloss, Shortland St, and many more). Her broadcasting career has encompassed stints as a presenter (Town and Around, Fair Go), journalism tutor, and NZ On Air board member. These days she runs a media training company with husband Brian Edwards.
The multi-talented Jackie van Beek emerged from Wellington’s theatre scene in the 1990s. After directing a run of award-winning shorts, her first feature The Inland Road was invited to the 2017 Berlin Film Festival. She went on to co-direct, co-write and co-star in comedy The Breaker Upperers, with Madeleine Sami. As an actor, van Beek is probably best known for playing a vampire groupie on What We Do in the Shadows.
In May 2017 Victoria Spackman began as leader of creative campus Te Auaha, which is set to open in Wellington in 2018. Before that she was chief executive and co-owner of Wellington company Gibson Group, whose multi-media and interactive installations and TV programmes reach a large international audience. Studies in law, film, theatre and linguistics have all fed into Spackman's work.
Filmmaker and novelist Alex Galvin has studied linguistics, music history and film. Alongside short films and dozens of corporate videos, Galvin has written and directed two low-budget features, with a third to follow. Set in an isolated house in the 1930s, murder mystery When Night Falls (2007) sold to Canada and the United States. Eternity (2012) melds elements of science fiction, virtual reality and traditional whodunnit, as well as locations in Aotearoa and Hong Kong. Next on Galvin's list is horror film Before the Darkness.