In an age before Rogernomics, well before The Office, there was the afternoon tea fund, Golden Kiwi, and four o'clock closing: welcome to the early 80s world of the New Zealand Public Service. Gliding On (1981 - 1985) was the first locally-made sitcom to become a bona-fide classic. Inspired by Roger Hall's hit play Glide Time, the award-winning series satirised a paper-pushing working life familiar to many Kiwis. This episode features Beryl's non-smoking campaign, Jim's efforts to kick the habit, office sexual innuendo and a much-debated fire drill. "Morning Jim!"
Doprah formed in 2013 after vocalist Indira Force and producer Steven Marr met through the Smokefree Rockquest. Later that year, the young Christchurch-based duo dropped their first single ‘San Pedro’, sparking a flurry of blogosphere acclaim. A signing with Auckland label Arch Hill and opening slots for Lorde and Liam Finn soon followed. Their second single ‘Stranger People’, and its accompanying harajuku-styled video, premiered on SPIN magazine’s online edition.
Love Soup was a high school duo formed by singer-songwriter Bic Runga and guitarist Kelly Horgan. After coming third in the Smokefree Rockquest, they were picked up by Trevor Reekie’s Pagan Records. This video is about all that is extant from Love Soup, as they were overtaken by Runga’s burgeoning solo career. Shortly to be signed by major label Sony, her debut hit single (and APRA Silver Scroll winner) ‘Drive’ was only months away. Aged just 19, Runga already looks and sounds remarkably assured as she sings about a lost friendship, to a mystical CGI cipher.
The Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards were the big fashion event of the year from the mid 60s through to the 90s. The show was organised by Josephine Brody, with a TV version screening later. Model turned agent Maysie Bestall-Cohen organised the ‘B&H’ from 1982. An early 80s screen hiatus ended with TVNZ screening a live-to-air show from 1984 to 1998 — the Michael Fowler Centre event was one of its biggest outside broadcasts. In the later 90s the show was known as the Smokefree Fashion Design Awards (after tobacco company sponsorships were outlawed).
Singer Jackie Clarke attends the NZ Smokefree Composing Women’s Festival to find out what goes on there, and find the guidance and inspiration to write a song for the first time. Made for TV ONE’s Work of Art slot, the documentary mixes interviews with performance footage covering a wide range of musical styles, from classical to rock. Among the singer/songwriters appearing are Moana Maniapoto, Shona Laing, Hinewehi Mohi, Mahinarangi Tocker and Jan Hellriegel, plus sometime film composers Janet Roddick and Jan Preston.
The origins of Die! Die! Die! go back to Dunedin's Logan Park High School, where founding members Andrew Wilson and Mikey Prain formed their first band after being inspired by local noisemakers The Dead C and HDU. Their band, Carriage H, won the 2001 Smokefree Rockquest. Wilson and Prain formed Die! Die! Die! in 2003. Since then a relentless work ethic has seen them record albums and EPs in Chicago, New York and New Zealand, and tour repeatedly around the globe, alongside occasional some extended layoffs. In 2010 they became the second act to be signed by the relaunched Flying Nun label.
Brothers Jon, Peter and Dann Hume were home-schooled teenagers in the Manawatu town of Feilding when they started Evermore. In 2000, they won the Smokefree Rockquest national schools music competition. Within three years, they had relocated to Sydney where they began to get airplay on the Triple J network. Their debut album Circles was a platinum hit in Australia and their song 'It's Too Late' won the NZ APRA Silver Scroll in 2005. Their follow up album Real Life went platinum in both NZ and in Australia, where 'Light Surrounding You' reached number one. They have continued to record in Australia.
Love Soup was a brief prelude to the rise of Bic Runga. She formed the duo with Kelly Horgan as a seventh former at Cashmere High School in Christchurch. They placed third in the 1993 Smokefree Rockquest and won a recording contract with Trevor Reekie’s Pagan Records. Runga then signed with Sony. One of her Love Soup songs ‘Drive’ was re-recorded for her debut Sony release and went on to win the 1996 APRA Silver Scroll (and the other Pagan recordings were released as part of the Drive EP). Kelly Horgan later played in Auckland band Heavy Jones Trio.
Trained at Ilam School of Fine Arts, John McDonald cut his teeth directing at TVNZ in the 80s before producing sport for Sky TV. An OE producing at MTV Asia was followed by roles for Screentime. Since joining Mediaworks (TV3) in 2000, he has led an award-winning run of live coverage (Fight for Life, Rugby World Cup, the NZ Music Awards) and comedy. He is Head of In-House Production at Mediaworks.
At Hamilton Girls' High School Aidee Walker was part of band Handsome Geoffrey, which won the 1998 Smokefree Rockquest. Acting soon took centre stage. In her final year of acting studies at Unitec, Walker was cast in horror film The Locals. Following an extended, on-off role on Outrageous Fortune — as the feisty Draska Doslic — she was nominated for comedy How to Meet Girls from a Distance. She has also written, directed (and often acted) in a run of shorts, and helmed two episodes of Westside while seven months pregnant. Her short Friday Tigers won two awards at the 2013 NZ International Film Festival.