Florian Habicht first won attention for 2003's Woodenhead, a fairytale about a rubbish dump worker and a princess. By then Habicht had already made his first feature-length documentary. Many more docos have followed: films that celebrate his love for people, and sometimes drift into fantasy. In this collection, watch as the idiosyncratic director meets fishermen, Kaikohe demolition derby drivers (both watchable in full), legends of Kiwi theatre and British pop, and beautiful women carrying slices of cake through New York. Ian Pryor writes here about the joys of Florian Habicht.
Marshall Napier (Came a Hot Friday) has played his share of unsympathetic cops over his long career. In Bellbird he shows a gentler side, as a Northland farmer who is unable to express himself after his wife's death. His son (Cohen Holloway) and friends do their best to help. Director and schoolteacher Hamish Bennett based the script on memories of his rural Northland upbringing. The film expands on his award-winning short film Ross and Beth (2014). The cast also includes Rachel House. In November 2019 Bellbird became the first film to be released in cinemas with te reo subtitles.
Open Home was a 90s series looking at New Zealand homes and the people making, designing and living in them. This episode from the third season ranges from deconstructionism to DIY. Builder (and future Dunedin mayor) David Cull checks out a Northland glasshouse designed by Nigel Cook, before visiting the renovated Australian farmhouse and digital recording studio of Dragon band member Todd Hunter. Susan Wood tries translating the architectural theory of deconstructionism with the help of Auckland architects, including Mark Wigley.
Nia’s Extra Ordinary Life follows the adventures of Nia, a 10 year-old girl living in the Northland seaside town of Tinopai. “Nothing exciting ever happens here …” begins Nia, but the ordinary becomes extraordinary via the power of her imagination. In this third episode Nia (Shania Gilmour) and Hazel meet Lucas "curled up like a ball" on the beach after a turtle-related incident. They go looking for the escaped turtle, and encounter a crab. Made by the team behind Auckland Daze, Nia’s Extra Ordinary Life was New Zealand's first web series for children.
In this 1992 Wild South documentary, pioneering underwater photographers Wade and Jan Doak investigate how fish have evolved over 400 million years on the Northland coast. They explore ocean dwellers off the Poor Knights Islands, where myriad nimble life forms thrive — from radar-like sensory systems and kaleidoscopic colouring, to the intricacies of jaw and fin shape. The Doaks conduct novel experiments to showcase them on camera in this Natural History New Zealand production. This episode was narrated by nature documentary filmmaker Peter Hayden.
In 2009 Māori Television rebooted the Selwyn Toogood-hosted 70s game show, with presenters Pio Terei and Stacey Daniels Morrison giving contestants the immortal choice: the money or the bag? In this episode — complete with web players — the road show comes to Ngāpuhi territory: the Northland town of Waimamaku. The series is bilingual; but how ever you say it be careful what you choose: as Stacey says, “Instead of a TV you might get a can of V!” The show ends with Pio leading a ‘Pokarekare Ana’ singalong. “Too much!”
Five years after the Treaty of Waitangi's signing, tension between British and Māori was at boiling point. In the middle of nowhere in Northland, chief Te Ruki Kawiti devised a plan to fight back. His masterpiece was Ruapekapeka, a state of the art pā with underground tunnels, deep trenches and artillery bunkers. Journalist Mihingarangi Forbes visits the site to investigate how Māori — outnumbered four to one — survived a 10 day British bombardment. Produced by Great Southern Television and Radio NZ, NZ Wars won awards for Best Documentary, Māori Programme and Presenter.
In the first of this two-part documentary about Kiwis and cars, actor Rima Te Wiata sets off on a road tour of New Zealand. Starting in the South Island, Te Wiata learns about the first bus tours to Aoraki, which were handled by the Mount Cook Motor Company. Then she travels to Westport via the infamous Hawks Crag, and hears from locals about the difficulties and dangers of transit before the introduction of cars. A trip back up the country takes Te Wiata to Northland, where the locals suggest they may have been better off when the primary mode of transport was by boat.
Nia’s Extra Ordinary Life follows the adventures of Nia, a 10 year-old girl living in the Northland seaside town of Tinopai. This fifth episode follows the play by play at cricket practice, where one of the team is day-dreaming, another bats like a superhero, and a third is humiliated by her mother, who also happens to be the coach. Talk about being made to feel small...Made by the team behind Auckland Daze, Nia’s Extra Ordinary Life was Aotearoa’s first web series for children.
Nia (Shania Gilmour) is an ordinary 10 year old girl living in the quiet Northland town of Tinopai. In this sixth episode, Nia’s dreams of winning the local art competition are interrupted when the local boys show up in a teasing mood, and do their best to ruin her day. It all makes Nia wonder why boys seem to act worse when they hang out in a group. Made by the team behind hit web series Auckland Daze, Nia's Extra Ordinary Life marked New Zealand’s first web series for children.