Long before Ghost Chips, even before "don't use your back like a crane", life in Godzone was fraught with hazards. This collection shows public safety awareness films spanning from the 50s to the 70s. If there's kitsch enjoyment to be had in the looking back (chimps on bikes?!) the lessons remain timeless. Remember: It's better to be safe than sorry.
This collection is a celebration of the eccentric, exuberant career of NZ screen industry frontrunner Tony Williams. As well as being at the helm of many iconic ads (Crunchie, Bugger, Spot, Dear John) Williams made inventive, award-winning indie TV documentaries, and shot or directed pioneering feature films, including Solo and cult horror Next of Kin.
Directed by Hugh Macdonald, This is New Zealand was made to promote the country at Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan. An ambitious concept saw iconic NZ imagery — panoramas, nature, Māori culture, sport, industry — projected on three adjacent screens that together comprised one giant widescreen. A rousing orchestral score (Sibelius's Karelia Suite) backed the images. Two million people saw it in Osaka, and over 350,000 New Zealanders saw on its homecoming theatrical release. It was remastered by Park Road Post in 2007. This excerpt is the first three minutes of the film.
Go Girls starts from a twist, a beach and a promise. The twist is that this femme-dominated tale is narrated by a male (Jay Ryan). The promise involves four friends having a drink on the beach, and agreeing to make a major life-change within a year. Amy (Anna Hutchison) wants to be rich; whacky bartender Britta (Alix Bushnell) seeks fame; straight-talking Cody (Bronwyn Turei) wants a hubbie. The intentionally "optimistic, kind" hit show stretched to five seasons. In the backgrounder, co-creator Rachel Lang writes about the show's origins and difficult, rain-sodden birth.
This five-minute excerpt from Asia Downunder’s final, 2011 season joins promising golfer Lydia Ko at the driving range. Here the South Korean-born Ko is a 14 year-old student at Pinehurst School. Her coach Guy Wilson, who trained her since she was six, discusses seeking sponsorship, and Ko talks about the challenges of keeping up study while training 40 hours a week. The dilemma was soon to become moot: the world’s top-ranked amateur turned pro on 23 October 2013. Roughly two years later, she became the youngest woman to win a major on the LPGA tour.
Nominated for a Qantas Media Award, this documentary examines prejudices against Asians in New Zealand, amidst the context of burgeoning immigration (80,000 ethnic Chinese and 20,000 Koreans have arrived in NZ since 1988). Directors John Bates and Manying Ip look back at the history of Asian settlement in Aotearoa, from colonial xenophobia and the poll tax inflicted only on Chinese migrants, through ‘ching chong Chinaman’ abuse, to the present day — where 21st century migrants face struggles with discrimination, language barriers and integrating in their new home.
A request from Holland's National Museum of Ethnology to acquire a Māori war canoe (waka taua) as a permanent exhibit resulted in master builder Hector Busby being commissioned to craft one. Jan Bieringa’s film looks at the history of waka, and follows the project from construction and launch, to the training of a Dutch crew and arrival in Holland. The first waka to permanently leave New Zealand shores makes a surreal sight on the canals of Abel Tasman’s birthplace. Onfilm reviewer Helen Martin praised it as "a special film about a very special project."
The video for 'Cool World' melds a mood of paranoia — including flashes of recording equipment, and worried words about surveillance — with numerous images of a model in a silver halter top, dealing to a punching bag. The Samoan brothers Ioasa create a smoothly percussive sound, which echoes overseas bands like Roxy Music and The Blue Nile much more strongly than other music coming out of Aotearoa in this period (1995). The song is taken from Grace's only album Black Sand Shore, which writer Nick Bollinger later rated as one of New Zealand's 100 finest.
Making heavy use of Auckland Museum’s marble corridors, the sepia tone video for Grace’s 'Black Sand Shore' is pure 90s pop. Jason Ioasa leads the vocals while exploring the many corridors — although the three Ioasa brothers spend most of their time standing intensely at the entrance to the museum’s interior ‘Centennial Street’. All the while, an hourglass placed by an Ioasa and an unknown woman ominously ticks down. The single was the third off Grace's album Black Sand Shore, which was included in Nick Bollinger’s 2009 book 100 Essential New Zealand Albums.
This documentary follows the "seven headed soul monster direct from the shores of Wellington" — Fat Freddys Drop — as they rumble their dub-rich sound through Europe like a Houghton Bay roller. Touring to showcase album Based on a True Story, it features rehearsals and performances, eating Italian kai moana, playing concrete ping pong in Berlin, and (in the fifth clip) a jam with Cliff Curtis. Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe lauds the 'fullas' and Mu explains whanau to German journos. True Story sold 120,000+ copies and dominated the 2005 New Zealand Music Awards.