In the first feature film from high-flying creative collective The Downlow Concept (7 Days, Hounds), the company's longtime 'muse' Joss Thomson plays a struggling real estate agent who becomes the chief of his family's sinking Pacific Island — while simultaneously striving to offer his girlfriend Chloe (American actor Megan Stevenson) her dream wedding. Shot largely in Raratonga, the film also features Dave Fane and Matt Whelan (Go Girls). The trailer promises male corsets and fat jokes, plus plenty of deadpan downlowconcept mayhem.
Frontline replaced Close Up as TVNZ’s flagship, primetime current affairs show in 1988. Fronted by Ross Stevens, and made at Avalon at a time when TVNZ management had relocated to Auckland, it produced the controversial 1990 doco For the Public Good which explored the relationship between business and the Labour Government. In the fallout, TVNZ was sued, staff were sacked and the office moved to Auckland. In 1994, a special about the Winebox tax allegations saw Frontline back in the news. Other presenters included Lindsay Perigo, Anita McNaught and Susan Wood.
This documentary unearths the story of the soldiers in the New Zealand Tunneling Company, whose daring World War I raids involved digging tunnels through chalk rock, laying explosives underneath enemy lines, and countermining German tunneling efforts. The story is told through the eyes of a New Zealand woman who retraces her grandfather’s war story to Arras, France, and sees the Kiwi-tagged cavern 'city' nearly 80 years later. The company played a key role on the Western Front, and was especially recruited in NZ, made up of miners, bushmen and labourers.
In this first episode of the 2015 Māori Television series, three rangitahi answer a Facebook call for sailors who are up for reconnecting with nature and their culture, on a six week waka journey circumnavigating the North Island. The te ao Māori twist on the fish out of water reality show sees a trio of young Māori (including Boy discovery Rickylee Russell-Waipuka) set sail on Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr’s waka Haunui, where they’re separated from social media, face seasickness and rough seas, and learn the "ancient laws of voyaging". The winner gets the chance to join a voyage to Rarotonga.
Chef Cameron Petley was a crowd favourite on MasterChef in 2011 for his homestyle wild food recipes, before being eliminated by a cupcake challenge. Petley got another chance to share his enthusiasm for harvesting and preparing tasty kai onscreen in this cooking show for Māori Television. He shares whānau recipes (from kina omelettes and mussel fritters to pork belly), favourite local markets, and chef’s tips. The series became one of Māori TV's highest rating shows. In the second season Petley travelled to Rarotonga to sample Pacific cuisine.
Michèle A’Court's comedy skills have been seen on everything from Pulp Comedy to 7 Days, but she began her screen career as a presenter on kids show What Now?. The multi award-winning comedian and columnist has also been a reporter on youth news show The Video Dispatch and has acted and written for Shortland Street.
After starring in feature Broken Barrier — the only New Zealand feature made in the 1950s — Terence Bayler departed for England, to continue a six-decade long acting career that encompassed Monty Python, William Shakespeare and Harry Potter. Born in Wanganui on 24 January 1930, Bayler passed away in England on 2 August 2016.
Veteran Tagata Pasifika producer/reporter John Utanga has interviewed prime ministers, and covered everything from vaka voyaging to Polyfest. Born and bred in Rarotonga, Utanga studied journalism at Auckland University and started as a reporter in print before transferring to television in 1994. Utanga co-founded the Pacific Islands Media Association, has chaired Auckland University of Technology’s Pacific Media Centre, and in 2015 completed the Taupo Ironman. He is now one of the partners in company SunPix, which took over production of Tagata Pasifika in 2015, from TVNZ.