The work of Dunedin artist and surfer Simon Kaan explores his Māori (Ngāi Tahu), Pākehā (Scottish) and Chinese heritage. His studio in Port Chalmers is an old fruit shop his Chinese grandfather ran. In 2004 Simon won a three-month residency at Beijing’s Red Gate Gallery. Directed by Andrew Bancroft, this Artsville story follows Kaan on a tour of Beijing markets and galleries, as he prepares for a show opening. Kaan, who also narrates the piece, is able to visit family whenua: the village that his grandparents left behind for New Zealand.
Directed by Owen Hughes, this piece for arts show Artsville explores the feeling of being caught between cultures. Painter Prakash Patel grew up as an Indian in conservative 1970s Wanganui. As a Kiwi he didn’t feel Indian yet he didn’t belong in Wanganui either - ‘What am I doing here?’ In 2006 he was awarded a Creative New Zealand Residency at the Sanskriti Campus in New Delhi. Out of Darkness, Out of India follows Prakash on his journey from discomfort to discovery.
The Warratahs formed in 1986 around Barry Saunders and Wayne Mason (ex-Fourmyula, and composer of the classic 'Nature'). TVNZ arts presenter Nik Brown played fiddle. Following a residency playing covers of country standards at Wellington's Cricketers Arms, the band began recording their own material. Their timeless, Kiwi-inflected, neo-traditional country, and relentless touring made them a beloved and unique presence in the fashion-conscious music scene of the late 1980s. After a few years off, the band reformed, this time without Mason.
A manufactured group that went on to score acclaim and psychedelic-pop hits, the Avengers were formed to play a residency at a new nightclub in Wellington — their name chosen in a newspaper contest (one of the winners was Dalvanius Prime). They became one of the capital’s most successful 60s acts, with three albums (including the first 'live' LP by a NZ rock band). But a relentless schedule left little time for songwriting; they disbanded in Australia after vocalist Dave Brown was unexpectedly hospitalised for eight weeks.
Soane Watkins began his career as a doorman at the Auckland clubs where he later progressed to spinning records. After filling the city's dance floors, the Tongan-born producer and DJ crossed the ditch for a time in the mid 90s, securing several club residencies in Sydney. In 2004, he released Tongan Chic, which was largely based on house beats, but also hooked into soul, Latino, hip hop and jazz vibes. It also included the standout track, 'All I Need', featuring Boh Runga and Feelstyle. Soane died of a heart attack in November 2014.
In 2006 photographer Greg Semu was offered the first residency at indigenous museum Quai Branly in Paris. Just over a decade earlier his debut exhibition was on at Auckland Art Gallery — and he was making an award-nominated music video for the Sisters Underground, with veteran video director Kerry Brown. Set around Mangere Bridge, their clip exudes a palpable warmth, even if the lyrical references to MAC-10s and a hot and cruel June morning are nods to MC Hassanah’s Nigerian origins, rather than the South Auckland suburb. The song got to number six on the Kiwi charts.
Ryan and Betty-Anne Monga, the core of South Auckland “poly funk” band Ardijah, are profiled in this episode from a Māori Television series about leading Māori artists. In this excerpt, they recall their early days, with Betty-Anne as a soloist and Ryan leading a “boys group” covers band with dreams of a residency on the club circuit. Their decision to join forces resulted in a chart hits like ‘Give Me Your Number’ and ‘Time Makes a Wine’, and in the band becoming a family business — with their son playing bass (but only after a rigorous audition).
Purveyors of bass-rich, funk-laden rock, OdESSA went from playing a fortnightly residency at a local Wellington bar, to being hailed as "the band to make all of New Zealand stand up and dance". OdESSA infamously became known as the band that recorded their debut album twice, after it was accidentally deleted from the studio's hard drive in 2005. Perseverance paid off and the energy of their live shows was laid down on Oak Park Avenue (2007). The Prize followed.
This 1976 concert sees Kiwi entertainment great John Rowles bring his cabaret show to His Majesty's Theatre in Auckland. Back from a hotel residency in Hawaii, Rowles belts out the ballads in his booming baritone. Tanned, in pastel blue flares, wide lapels, and plenty of bling, Rowles (here nearly 30) croons about wahine from Mandy to Sweet Caroline, to his iconic "island sweetheart" Cheryl Moana Marie. Memorable moments include tributes to Norman Kirk and singer Inia Te Wiata, a haka with Dave from Palmerston North, and a rousing finish with 'Mr Bojangles'.
A documentary about author Janet Frame based on the eponymous biography by Michael King. It travels through the familiar Frame themes - her alleged mental illness, family tragedies, overseas stays, how she began writing. Its value, and fresh insight, lies in the interviews with Frame's close friends and key figures in her life. They shed light on her personality and achievements. King in particular provides a considered, often-amusing account of Frame's life. This was his last interview for film; he was killed in a car accident in 2004.