Collection

Five Decades of NZ Number One Hits

Curated by NZ On Screen team

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.  

Radio with Pictures - Billy Idol

Television, 1984 (Excerpts)

In April 1984 Billy Idol visited New Zealand to promote his second (and most successful) solo album Rebel Yell. Interviewed by Radio with Pictures legend Karyn Hay, he answers her call for a closing rebel yell, talks about the origins of his name and early hit 'White Wedding'; argues he appeals to the intelligence of his audience; criticises racism towards the United States, a country full of "ordinary people who struggle everyday"; and argues that confidence and "a pretty heavy attitude" are key to survival in a music industry that is more concerned with money than art.  

NZ On Air 30th Birthday - The X Factor (NZ)

Web, 2019 (Full Length)

Thanks to NZ On Air's support, The X Factor gave New Zealand performers a primetime platform, created excitement and controversy and drew huge, committed audiences. Former Olympian Barbara Kendall explains why she enjoyed the Kiwi version of the show so much, and why one contestant in particular caught her attention. Then X Factor executive producer Andrew Szusterman shares how this "massive, massive show" came to New Zealand, and celebrates the distinct, Kiwi flavour it took on — one example being Stan Walker's judging style.

Like it's Over (featuring Ria Hall)

Stan Walker, Music Video, 2013

In this colourful video Australian Idol victor Stan Walker works his wardrobe and dance moves at the bottom of Auckland's Point Erin Pool, with help from singer (and aunt!) Ria Hall. Director Shae Stirling doubles up the action, thanks to copious use of split screen. Copy written for the video's premiere on website Stuff describes the song as being about knowing that a relationship is over, but trying to keep it going regardless. In the same year Walker made his big screen debut in hit movie Mt Zion, judged The X Factor NZ and opened onstage for Beyoncé. 

Black Box

Stan Walker, Music Video, 2009

‘Black Box’ was the winning song for Australian Idol victor Stan Walker. His first music video was shot in Sydney two days after his triumph. It's set at a mansion poolside party, with Idol finalists and family members among the extras. The black box in question might hold the records of a romantic crash, not an aviation disaster, but this recriminatory look back at a failed relationship brought sweet success for Walker. It spent 10 consecutive weeks at the top of the New Zealand singles chart, and won four Tuis at the 2010 NZ Music Awards.

50 Years of New Zealand Television: 3 - Let Us Entertain You

Television, 2010 (Full Length Episode)

This edition of Prime TV’s history of New Zealand television looks at 50 years of entertainment. The smorgasbord of music, comedy and variety shows ranges from 60s pop stars to Popstars, from the anarchy of Blerta to the anarchy of Telethon, from Radio with Pictures to Dancing with the Stars. Music television moves from C’mon and country, to punk and hip hop videos. Comedy follows the formative Fred Dagg and Billy T, through to Eating Media Lunch and 7 Days. A roll call of New Zealand entertainers muse on seeing Kiwis laugh, sing and shimmy on the small screen.

Series

The X Factor (NZ)

Television, 2013–2015

British producer Simon Cowell launched hit talent show The X Factor in 2004, after leaving Pop Idol. In April 2013 the Kiwi version debuted on TV3, after 6,000 hopefuls auditioned. Presented by Dominic Bowden, the first season was won by Jackie Thomas. She had survived elimination earlier on, after a campaign by judge and mentor Daniel Bedingfield. In 2015 Beau Monga won the second season. That year, judge Natalia Kills called contestant Joe Irvine "disgusting" for supposedly copying the look of her husband, fellow judge Willy Moon. The couple were fired the next day.

Artist

Mr Lee Grant

Described by writer John Dix as "New Zealand's first television pop idol", Mr Lee Grant won hysterical fans while making regular appearances on 60s music show C'Mon, after winning a radio talent quest. Loxene Golden Disc winner 'Thanks to You' was one of three Grant singles to top the local charts. Born as Bogdan Kominowski to Polish parents in a WWII concentration camp, he reverted to his birth name after relocating to the United Kingdom. His acting career includes a minor part in 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill, and the starring role on an Australasian tour of Phantom of the Opera.    

Popstars - Series Excerpts

Television, 1999 (Excerpts)

Popstars was a key forerunner of the late 1990s reality television explosion. The series followed the creation and development of an all-girl pop band called TrueBliss (Carly Binding, Keri Harper, Joe Cotton, Megan Alatini and Erika Takacs), who went on to record several NZ chart-topping singles and a platinum-selling album. Also a hit was the series format, which sold globally and helped inspire Pop Idol/American Idol, the franchise that would dominate reality TV for years to come. These excerpts are from each episode of the series, from the second to the final.

Series

Popstars

Television, 1999

Popstars was a key part of the late 1990s reality television explosion. The series followed the creation and development of all-female pop band TrueBliss (Carly Binding, Keri Harper, Joe Cotton, Megan Alatini and Erika Takacs). The five singers went on to record several chart-topping singles, and a platinum-selling album. Also a hit was the series format, which sold around the world and helped inspire Pop Idol/American Idol, the franchise that would dominate reality television for years to come. Popstars was named Best Entertainment Programme at the 1999 NZ Television Awards.