Poi E: The Story of Our Song tells the story behind one of New Zealand’s most iconic pop songs. Led by Dalvanius Prime, the Patea Māori Club single was released soon after the closure of the town’s freezing works. Conquering disinterest from record labels and radio, Poi E became New Zealand's highest selling single in 1984. Written and directed by Tearepa Kahi (Mt Zion), the "warm, funny, touching" documentary (NZ Herald) features interviews with those involved, and famous fans (eg Taika Waititi). Poi E won applause after premiering at the opening of the 2016 Auckland Film Festival.
The uplifting promotional clip is as famous as the chartbusting song. Accompanied by Jo, the breakdancing guide, for a tour of Patea and surrounds, the Patea Maori Club are captured "just doing their thing", "bopping and twirling like piwakawaka": at the local marae, in Manners Mall, and on Patea’s main street where milk tankers and sheep trucks pass by the Aotea canoe remembrance arch. As does the impresario himself: Dalvanius does a pūkana out a car window. In 2010 'Poi E' re-entered the charts thanks to Taika Waititi hit Boy. A documentary about the song was released in 2016.
The 1980s was the decade the music video boom began. Kiwi music was well represented when it came to number one singles, as you can see below. In February 1980 Jon Stephens became (and remains) the only Kiwi to knock themselves off the top of the charts, when ‘Montego Bay’ replaced ‘Jezebel’ at n...
In 1991 Moana and the Moahunters mixed house beats with a lyrical plea for the importance of preserving the Māori language. It was not the first time te reo had been heard on Aotearoa’s airwaves. This Spotlight collects together classic songs which are wholly or partially in Māori: from 1981 Dean...
Film festival time has rolled around again. Among the picks from around the globe, some Kiwi gems can be found (including three seasons of short films). As these trailers indicate, the local feature listings include a movie from Eleanor Catton's debut novel (The Rehearsal), a crowdpleaser about c...
This collection rounds up almost every music video for a number one hit by a Kiwi artist; everything from ballads to hip hop to glam rock. Press on the images below to find the hits for each decade — plus try this backgrounder by Michael Higgins, whose high speed history of local hits touches on the sometimes questionable ways past charts were created.
This Top 10 shows the screen icons from the decade of Springboks, sax and the sharemarket crash. The world champ All Blacks' jersey was loose, socks were red and shoulders were padded. On screens big and small Kiwis were reflected ... mullets n'all: from Bruno and the yellow mini, to Billy T's yellow towel, Karyn Hay's vowels, Poi-E, Gloss, Dog and more dogs showing off.
Occasional Heartland host Annie Whittle visits Patea in this full-length episode, and finds the town in rehearsal for the story of its own life. A decade in the making, Poi E - The Musical chronicles Patea's triumphs and tragedies, following the closure of the local freezing works in 1982. Whittle talks to Dalvanius Prime — the musician behind both the original number one song, and the Poi E musical — about the impact the closure had on the township. The programme ends with a rousing live version of 'Poi E'. Prime would pass away in October 2002.
This magazine newsreel mixes buried treasure with a classic Brian Brake-shot performance piece. Opener 'The Long Poi' captures a poi dance. In 'The Buried Village' tourists examine fireballs and Māori stone carvings buried in the 1886 Tarawera eruption. The final piece showcases the talents of Kiwi pianist Richard Farrell and director Brian Brake. Brake's moody studio lighting and lively compositions frame this performance of a Chopin waltz. Farrell would die in a UK car accident in 1958 — the same month Brake won his first big spread in Life magazine.
For nine years TVNZ's Top Half brought local news to Auckland and the upper North Island. In these excerpts there's a tantalising before and after glimpse of a David Bowie concert at Western Springs; the people of Ponsonby worry that their suburb's character is being lost to developers; Dylan Taite finds country rockers The Warratahs busking on Ponsonby Road; and in K Road, there is coverage of a multicultural street festival, and concerns about how encroaching sleaze is affecting local retailers; plus a cute story about a baby orangutan and a camera-shy mother.