'No 8 wire' Kiwi ingenuity is defined by problem solving from few resources (No 8 wire is fencing wire that can be adapted to many uses, an ability that was particularly handy for isolated NZ settlers). Embodied in heroes from Richard Pearse to PJ, Kiwi ingenuity is a quality dear to our national sense of self. It has been memorably celebrated, and sometimes satirised, on screen.
After countless romances, breakups and revelations — plus the odd psycho and crashing helicopter — Shortland Street turned 25 in May 2017. Made on the run, sold round the globe, the Kiwi soap opera juggernaut has provided a launchpad for dozens of actors and behind the scenes talents. Alongside best of clips, the very first episode, musical moments and favourite memories from the cast, Shortland star turned director Angela Bloomfield writes about how the show has changed here, while Mihi Murray backgrounds how it began — and how it reflects New Zealand.
Great adverts are strange things: mini works of magic, with the power to make viewers smile, cry, and even buy. Kiwi directors have shown such a knack for making them, they've been invited to do so across the globe. But this collection is about local favourites; dogs on skateboards, choc bar robberies, ghost chips. NZ On Screen's Irene Gardiner backgrounds the top 10 here.
Sailor's Voyage charts the journey of Hello Sailor, the band that ripped up a storm live, made landings in the USA, ran aground and fell apart, then drifted back together again. Interviews with Graham Brazier, Dave McArtney, Harry Lyon and co reveal how the group opened doors for local music, and helped establish a New Zealand touring circuit. Manager David Gapes recalls attempts to get a US record deal, before the cash ran out; the legend of Brazier being asked to join The Doors is explained. The archive footage includes a performance with Doors member Ray Manzarek.
Coming on like a 1970s exploitation film, this video sees The Sagittarian (aka Shae Sterling) pounding the streets of Bangkok in a white suit and sunglasses. While on the hunt for a mysterious quarry, he encounters guns, breakdancing monks and some spectacular scenery. Fellow musician and filmmaker Mikey Rockwell, who features on the track, adds a touch of comedy in the finale. The video won a Knack Award at the 2007 Kodak Fringe Awards. After Sterling starred in this, he went on to direct videos for many other musicians, including Stan Walker and Maisey Rika.
A hard living, party-loving gang with a knack for attracting trouble, The Androidss formed in Christchurch in 1979 and became an institution at The Gladstone Tavern. The cornerstone of their live set was an epic version of Iggy Pop’s ‘The Passenger’ (played for the man himself one night). Their recorded legacy is the anthemic ‘Auckland Tonight’, written after they moved north and released on the b-side of their only single. Singer Steve Marsden died in 2009 and his twin brother, drummer Eric, passed away in 2011. Guitarist Neil Spence followed in 2014.
Since Jordan Watson released his first How to Dad parenting video in 2015, the Auckland father of three has amassed hundreds of millions of views on social media, written books and been able to quit his day job to focus on the series. Each week Watson dons a fleece hunting top and stubbies to film his young children for the tongue in cheek videos. Watson's main co-star is his daughter Alba, who displays a knack for comedic timing. In 2017 Watson honed his gumboot throwing skills on YouTube, for NZ On Air-funded mockumentary series How to Dad: Legend of the Gumboot.
Made by off-duty Lord of the Rings crew and directed by James Barr, this video won The Knack Award at the 2001 Flying Fish Music Awards, and was a Handle the Jandal award-winner the same year. Shot in black and white, the clip is visually strong, but contains lots of shots of the band falling from buildings, so don’t watch it if you suffer from vertigo. And please don’t try this at home! Onetime band member Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords) turns up in the final stages, with an emergency bucket.
In this 2011 Jam TV series, reporter Hadyn Jones motors around Aotearoa in a 1966 Ford Falcon and caravan to meet the locals. He starts his engine in Dargaville, where he meets mechanic Ken, who gets the 'blue beast' going; Ange, a mother of three who got a burnout car for her wedding anniversary; he chats with axe-man Jason Wynyard at the Arapohue A&P Show; plus a heap of Dalmatian Kiwis. Critic Karl du Fresne rated the series appointment viewing, with Jones possessing a "rare knack of being able to make them [interviewees] relax and reveal themselves on camera."
Noel (Patrick Smyth) and Faith (Kate Harcourt) are happily retired; they while away their time digging into the earth beneath their house and sifting for treasure from the knick-knacks and 'thingamajigs' of history. Then a tremor shakes up “Dad’s excavations”. Adopting a low-dialogue storytelling approach, this reflective tale of finding life and meaning in the small things marked a rare screenwriting credit for Vintner's Luck author Elizabeth Knox (collaborating with director Neil Pardington). It screened as part of Kiwi shorts showcase at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.