Packed with creatures and landscapes that quite simply boggle the mind, the Nature Collection showcases New Zealand's impressive menagerie of nature and wildlife films. Many of the titles were made by powerhouse company NHNZ, which began around 1977 as the Natural History Unit, a small, southern outpost of state television. In this backgrounder, Peter Hayden — who had a hand in more than a few of these classic films — guides viewers through just what the Nature Collection has to offer.
This People Like Us episode profiles Apirana Mahuika, before he became leader of Ngāti Porou. Having left lecturing at Massey University to return to his East Coast hometown of Tikitiki, Mahuika talks at his farm 'laboratory' about tamarillos, gangs, and coming home. He hopes his progressive farming (trialling kiwifruit and wine) will encourage young Ngāti Porou to remain and find jobs. A key figure in many Treaty of Waitangi claims and lead negotiator of Ngāti Porou's claim, Mahuika died in February 2015; Tau Henare said "his passing will cut a swathe through the forest".
The Big Art Trip hosts Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins and Nick Ward start this leg of the journey in Palmerston North, where they meet Centrepoint Theatre artistic director and actor Alison Quigan and sculptor Robert Jahnke. Next it's Wellington, and a chat about the bucket fountain in Cuba Mall, before they visit painter Marianne Muggeridge and drop in on Circa Theatre co-founder and actor Grant Tilly, who shares his secret passion for box making. They finish up with theatre-centric band Cloudboy, who discuss their music and their move from Dunedin to Wellington.
Brothers Nigel and Jeremy Corbett performed as a musical comedy duo, before joining comedy group Facial DBX (see this interview) and hosting stand-up comedy talent quest A Bit After Ten. Jeremy has achieved further success as a comedian and broadcaster, while Nigel has pursued a career in advertising.
The Manawatu has provided fertile ground for New Zealand comedic talent, including producing six-person comedy group Facial DBX. Members Jeremy and Nigel Corbett get their own Funny As interview elsewhere.
In his third interview for Funny As, comedian and 7 Days presenter Jeremy Corbett discusses more singular comedic pursuits, including his extensive career in radio and TV. On top of mentioning how his university degree ran a “distant third” to DJing on Radio Massey and the capping revue, he talks about: Being part of the team that established Energy FM in New Plymouth — including Steven Joyce in his pre-MP days — and being the only one to leave early and miss out on becoming a millionaire Spending 18 years as breakfast host on More FM, then losing interest when radio became homogenised: the “oh I put the coloureds in with the whites in the washing machine, have you ever done that? Text us” moment The awkward moment where he played a tasteless parody song to singer John Mayer in a radio interview Memories of a comedy pilot with Paul Holmes and Mike Hosking, which turned into “a pissing contest between the two of them to be either the most knowledgeable or funniest” 7 Days being his "dream show”, the importance of the writers' room, and getting goosebumps watching the first show go to air Changing a te reo comedy routine on The Project, after taking on board feedback that the routine was “not particularly woke” — and the challenge of delivering the routine in Māori Jeremy Corbett can also be seen in these Funny As interviews with his brother Nigel, and as part of comedy group Facial DBX.
Wellington is given the Baraka 'time-scape' treatment in this short film by Richard Sidey, made while studying at Massey University. There's no characters or conventional narrative, but the life cycle of a city is captured in a Koyaanisqatsi-like compilation of day and night-time scenes. Clouds scud by in hyper-time-lapse and slow-motion, and Wellington landmarks (harbour, bucket fountain, turbine etc) are seen anew, cut to a soundtrack by percussion group Strike. The tone poem won best student film at the American Conservation Film Festival 2007.
After training to be a vet, cartoonist and writer Tom Scott ended up spending more time with creatures of the animated kind.
Peter Hayden’s long storytelling career spans fact, fiction, feather and fur. Hayden has worked extensively behind the scenes on a run of nature documentaries, made for company NHNZ. His acting career includes roles in classic goldmining drama Illustrious Energy and Maurice Gee series The Fire-Raiser. In 2017 Hayden was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to film and television.
Catapulted to fame after tousles with Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, Tom Scott originally trained to be a vet. He ended up helping Murray Ball turn Footrot Flats into a hit movie. The celebrated humourist and cartoonist has also told the story of Kiwi legends Edmund Hillary and David Lange, in both TV documentaries and dramas. Scott also co-wrote Rage, a TV movie about the 1981 Springbok tour.