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.  

Collection

The Pacific Collection

Curated by NZ On Screen team

NZ On Screen's Pacific Collection celebrates many things — many islands, many cultures, and the many Pasifika creatives who have enriched Aotearoa, by bringing their stories to the screen. The collection is curated by Stephen Stehlin, whose involvement in flagship Pacific magazine show Tagata Pasifika goes back to its very first season. In his backgrounder, Stehlin touches on sovereignty, diversity, Polyfest and bro'Town — and the relationship between Pacific peoples and Māori in Aotearoa. 

A Sense of Involvement

Short Film, 1977 (Full Length)

This award-winning National Film Unit documentary looks at the craft movement in New Zealand, as this counterpoint to industrial mass production went mainstream. The sense of involvement in the title refers to the individual skills that potters, weavers, printmakers, furniture makers and sculptors bring to making their objects. Director David Sims avoids narration, instead using music from composer Tony Baker to score scenes of the makers at work, from the loom, furnace and kiln, to workshop and studio. As a flashback to the late 70s, facial hair, ceramics and wool abound.

This Town - First Episode

Television, 2013 (Full Length Episode)

This acclaimed TV series heads to Aotearoa’s heartland, dispensing with narration or a city slicker presenter so that local personalities can represent themselves. The opening episode travels to the West Coast to meet the 'Coasters' who live there: from publicans, prospectors and bushmen, to sheila truck drivers, knitting drag queens and musical theatre directors. The Dominion Post’s Karl du Fresne wrote of the show: "Producer Melanie Rakena has done a superb job seeking out engaging characters with interesting stories and allowing them to tell them in their own way." 

Macchina

Decortica, Music Video, 2008

Illustrator/director Leah Morgan's beautifully crafted clip cleverly captures both angst and beauty through captivating special effects and a stunning palette.   "We shot against a green screen, with the band members positioned on a lazy Susan. The thing that killed me was a low angle shot where I was spinning and looking down: I turned pretty green (which must have been problematic in post)." Mathew Bosher, March 09

Crystal Chain

The Subliminals, Music Video, 1999

Director Marc Swadel says he made this clip with "300 bucks and one re-used 100 foot reel of 16mm film" - but it's a triumph of style over budget. It's grungy and spacey, with a spinning glitter ball, scratched-in stars, spilt milk, and a dreamy slacker/stoner 'dance' performance from this short-lived but acclaimed Flying Nun combo.

Artist

Soane

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.

Fault in the Frog

Able Tasmans, Music Video, 1992

This "essay on global warming" was written by Able Tasmans band member Leslie Jonkers. Bagpipes and spinning pomegranates give away to amoeba and swirling shots of trees. The band are shot in colour amongst Christmas decorations, and in black and white in a forest as the song spins and builds. Shots of a Chrysler Valiant give way to footage of a village in Africa, a forest in Asia, the Golden Gate Bridge and Speakers' Corner in London. And why a frog? Because when water is gradually heated, a frog doesn't notice the changing temperature and will be poached.

Signing Off

Short Film, 1996 (Full Length)

During his last session on air, a veteran radio announcer finds himself on a quest through the streets and sewers. His mission: to retrieve a special record, in time to play it for a devoted listener. Signing Off was made by Nightmare Productions, a team of Dunedin filmmakers. The success of this comic adventure helped lead to Scarfies, the feature debut of Nightmare team member, director Robert Sarkies (Two Little Boys, Out of the Blue). A big seller overseas, Signing Off won awards at film festivals from Dresden to Montreal. 

Pictorial Parade No. 200 - Kb Country

Short Film, 1968 (Full Length)

Train enthusiast David Sims captured the dying days of steam trains in this 1968 National Film Unit short. It features arresting images of a Kb class locomotive billowing steam as it tackles the Southern Alps, en route from Canterbury to the West Coast. Kb Country was released in Kiwi cinemas in January 1968, just months before the steam locomotives working the Midland Line were replaced by diesel-electrics. Sims earned his directing stripes with the film. As he writes in this background piece, making it involved a mixture of snow, joy and at least two moments of complete terror.