In 2000 the Employment Relations Act was passed into law in New Zealand, replacing the Employment Contracts Act. The bill proved controversial: some suggested it placed unfair obligations on employers, while others claimed it restored much-needed rights to workers that had been undermined. This Assignment episode explores both angles. Among them, business owner John Holm argues that he shouldn’t be told how to treat his employees, while union leaders and Alliance Party MP Laila Harré all argue that without the bill, workers will continue to be exploited.
This edition of New Zealand Stories follows a group of Australasian and German medical teams who make an annual charity trip to the Philippines. Specialists on the mission spend six intensive days examining and operating on roughly 100 children who cannot afford medical care. As Auckland-based plastic surgeon Tristan de Chalain explains, the treatment typically involves fusing together parts of the lips and/or roof of the mouth which failed to join before birth. In this backgrounder, producer Amanda Evans writes about a mission based on human kindness.
Children of Gallipoli offered viewers another angle on the Gallipoli story. Produced for TVNZ and Turkish television, the documentary focuses on four young people, two Turks and two New Zealanders. All are descended from men who fought at Gallipoli in 1915. Travelling to Turkey, the Kiwis explore the battle site and meet the other two participants. Together they gain an insight into the grim reality of what their ancestors experienced. Seeing it through their eyes charges the film with a strong emotional resonance. Anna Cottrell writes here about the challenges of directing it.
Stalin’s Sickle takes Kiwi suburban paranoia to unexpected places as nine-year-old Daniel imagines his neighbour is feared Russian dictator Joseph Stalin. Set amidst 1962 Cold War conservatism, Daniel spots the south seas’ Stalin at church, spies on him to confirm his suspicions and schemes to send him on his way. But Daniel’s civil defence plan goes awry, leaving him with a worse threat to deal with. Based on the short story by Michael Morrissey, the Costa Botes-directed film won the Grand Jury Prize at Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival.
Jude Dobson became a familiar television presence in the 1990s presenting a run of lifestyle shows, and then her own five night a week series. After beginning on quiz show Sale of the Century, she went on to helm almost 1000 episodes of 5.30 with Jude and its follow-up. In 2002 she set up production company Homegrown Television to make documentaries and educational films exploring parenting and family.
Katherine McRae’s first acting role was as a child, in an adaptation of Katherine Mansfield story The Doll’s House. Thirteen years later, she was part of the main cast on TV's The Marching Girls, before her first movie, Send a Gorilla. After winning acclaim on stage, she became a regular on Shortland Street in 2006, then moved into screen directing — including Go Girls, Nothing Trivial, and short film Abandon Ship.
Veteran actor Kate Harcourt was named a Dame Companion of the NZ Order of Merit in 1996, for her contribution to theatre. Her long performing career also encompasses many roles on screen (Plain Tastes, The Dig, Apron Strings), often playing maternal figures. In her ninth decade she won Best Actress at Rhode Island International Film Festival as the plucky rest home rebel in short film Pacific Dreams.
Clinical psychologist Nigel Latta first made his mark on Kiwi television in 2008 with Beyond the Darklands, based on his book Into the Darklands, about New Zealand criminals and how they came to be. Latta hosted the show for five seasons, alongside three lighthearted, politically incorrect series about teenagers and other humans. 2014 saw the launch of wide-ranging issues show Nigel Latta.
Award-winning journalist Mihingarangi Forbes has spent 20+ years working in television, reporting in both te reo and English. Feilding-raised Forbes began her career as an intern on Te Karere, before moving to One News, Campbell Live, 20/20 and Native Affairs. She resigned from Māori Television in 2015, claiming she'd lost control over her stories, and began presenting Three's new current affairs show The Hui in 2016.
In her 10 year tenure as Māori Affairs correspondent for One News, Tini Molyneux fronted some of the biggest news stories in New Zealand, let alone Māoridom — including the Foreshore and Seabed hikoi, the birth of the Māori Party and the 2007 Urerewa police raids. She began her 30 year television career as a newsreader for Te Karere, and went on to present and report stories for Waka Huia and Marae.