Royal Variety Performance Show 1981

Television, 1981 (Full Length)

This live TV spectacular documents an 18 October 1981 Royal Variety performance in front of the touring Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh. Performers in St James Theatre included Ray Columbus (in That's Country mode), Sir Howard Morrison and John Rowles. Dance is represented by Limbs and the Royal New Zealand Ballet, while McPhail and Gadsby and Billy T James deliver pre-PC gags. There’s a show stopping all-singing all-dancing finale, and what seems like the entire roster of NZ showbiz of the time lines up to greet the Queen, including Lyn of Tawa.

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Petrouchka in Performance

Television, 1993

This televised 1993 performance of Stravinsky’s Petrouchka by the Royal New Zealand Ballet stays true to the original 1911 Ballet Russes version in more than just spelling. Douglas Wright as the titular tormented puppet pays tribute to original performer Vaslav Nikinsky; designer Raymond Boyce channels Alexandre Benois and Russell Kerr's choreography evokes Mikhail Fokine. The sell-out season was reviewed as "phenomenal" and "a visual feast… exploding with colour and shifting image". It was directed by former kids TV host and future TV exec Andrew Shaw. 

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The Sam Neill Collection

Curated by NZ On Screen team

Sam Neill has acted in forgotten Kiwi TV dramas (The City of No) and classic Kiwi movies (Sleeping Dogs, The Piano, Hunt for the Wilderpeople). His career has taken him from the UK (Reilly: Ace of Spies) to Hawaii (Jurassic Park) to dodgy Melbourne nightclubs (Death in Brunswick). As Neill turns 70, this collection celebrates his range, modesty and style — and the fact he was directing films before winning acting fame. In these backgrounders, friends Ian Mune and Roger Donaldson raise a glass to a talented, self-deprecating actor and fan of good music and pinot noir.


The Best of the Ballet

Curated by the NZ On Screen team . 8 Items

This collection pointes a Spotlight on all things ballet-related on NZ On Screen, including Toa Fraser's documentary Giselle, a 1983 performance for Charles and Di (8.30 clip one), and archive gems including: Ballet in New Zealand (1963), Our Stars of Ballet (1960); Sir Jon Trimmer acting up as T...

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Kiwi Soaps

Curated by the NZ On Screen team . 10 Items

It is time to pull back the curtains on classic Kiwi TV soaps of yesteryear. Soap operas officially hit NZ television in 1975: two of them did actually, although Close to Home was the one that lasted (A Going Concern was the one that didn't). The other longstayers in this Spotlight collection are...


Celebrating The Exponents

Curated by the NZ On Screen team . 9 Items

In November 2015 The Exponents received the Herald Legacy Award, for 'notable and celebrated Kiwi artists who have helped shape the NZ music industry'. Starting in 1981 as the Dance Exponents, and later reborn as the Exponents, the band's regular summer tours became legendary — as did a catalogue...

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Sharon O'Neill - Taking the Whole World On

Curated by the NZ On Screen team . 11 Items

Nelson born Sharon O'Neill is one of New Zealand's foremost female singer/songwriters, achieving success both at home and abroad. This Spotlight collection shines the light on her screen work, from videos — for APRA Top 100 singles ‘Maybe’, and ’Maxine’, plus ‘Words’ and O’Neill-penned Dragon hit...

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Celebrating Dave McArtney

Curated by the NZ On Screen team . 12 Items

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Dave McArtney achieved fame with Kiwi music legends Hello Sailor, then went solo with his band the Pink Flamingos. He composed the classic song 'Gutter Black', about “dole bludgers living in Ponsonby” and now iconic as the theme tune to Outrageous Fortune. Remembe...

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Songs of Shortland Street

Curated by the NZ On Screen team . 5 Items

New Zealand music has an important place on Shortland Street, including guest performances by some of Aotearoa’s finest musicians (see this AudioCulture piece). But things really come into their own when the cast get behind the mic. This Spotlight includes a rap that Michael Galvin would rather f...


The Māori Strum

Curated by the NZ On Screen team . 10 Items

The ‘boom-chucka-boom-chucka’ “Māori strum” turned a British song – Ten Guitars – into an unofficial Kiwi national anthem. It’s the backbone of kapa haka performances, and has even been the subject of academic study. Here’s a selection of New Zealand songs that all incorporate a Māori strum. And ...