For their fourth series, the intrepid Moon TV crew set out to tour New Zealand in mobile broadcast vans. The backbone of this episode is a roadside interview with All Black Richie McCaw, who takes in stride a dodgy satellite dish and questions from a viewer about swallowing the contents of a lava lamp. Elsewhere there are appearances by show regulars Hamsterman (who does a strange dance) and Speedo Cops (dealing to a dangerous runaway trolley) — plus a Dragon's Den take-off, in which a potential financier is impressed by a vacuum cleaner refitted to make coffee.
Beloved host Eion Scarrow dispensed down to earth advice for home gardeners in this long-running gardening series - NZ telly’s first national gardening show. In this episode he guides viewers on how to shift an established tree (a 6-8 week process) before moving on to what to plant at this time of the year (March). The viewers’ letters (“not lettuce”) segment tackles questions about rootstock in grafting rhododendrons, preventing onions and gum trees from rotting, pitfalls in establishing a blueberry crop, and dealing with a plant with (sci-fi) runaway roots.
Night of the Red Hunter was a 1989 sci-fi series for kids that followed the adventures of runaways Peter (Toby Laing) and Maggie (Toni Driscoll). After falling into a grave of golden light at a farm cemetery, they come into the orbit of the strange Piper family who give an extraterrestrial twist to Kiwi small town gothic. Written by Ken Catran, and produced by Chris Hampson, the TVNZ production was one of the final shows made by Avalon's Drama Department. The series was recut as a telefeature. Laing is now better known as trumpeter for Fat Freddys Drop.
In the one channel days of the early 1970s, the Survey slot was the place to find local documentaries. Topics ranged across the board, from social issues (alcoholism, runaway children) to the potentially humdrum (an AGM meeting) to the surprisingly experimental (music film The Unbelievable Glory of the Human Voice). After extended campaigning by producer John O’Shea, emerging independent filmmakers, including Tony Williams and Roger Donaldson, joined the party — bringing fresh creativity and new techniques to the traditional gentle, narration-heavy doco format.
Hammond Gamble’s Street Talk were a star attraction in the late 70s Auckland pub scene. Their debut album had a heavyweight producer in LA scenester (and Runaways svengali) Kim Fowley. This TVNZ video uses an alleyway set to reflect the band’s “street music” rock’n’roll (with a dash of Springsteen-style bruised romanticism). The band might look new wave, but the rootsier Gamble is after a more conventional look. Whether any self-respecting bluesman would keep his guitar in a rubbish bin is another matter altogether.
This 1976 TV2 report covers the launch of Gordon McLauchlan’s book Passionless People in Eketahuna, a town he had derided in newspaper columns as an epicentre of New Zealand conformity. Within the book’s pages the author infamously called Kiwis "smiling zombies" – lazy, smug, and a bunch of moaners. McLauchlan bravely visits the local pub, and stands in front of the 'hot pies' sign to muse about sexuality. Ex-All Black Brian Lochore is MC at the launch, where McLauchlan is put on mock trial in stocks at the town hall. Passionless People was a runaway best seller.
'Sierra Leone' was one of those songs that quickly stood out from the pack. Andrew McLennan's synth-pop track won his new band Coconut Rough a deal with Mushroom Records, then became a runaway hit in 1983. The video, slick for the time, features bright colours, a running motif, and African imagery. But the pressure of being in demand for a single song became an albatross around the band's neck. As McLennan told website AudioCulture, "‘Sierra Leone’ became the only song from our repertoire that people wanted to hear and no matter what we did we couldn’t follow it up."
Spats are better known as the band they soon became: The Crocodiles. Formed in mid 1977, originally as Les Hots, the eclectic act performed everything from jazz to doo-wop, as well as sellout shows at the Gluepot with Limbs Dance Company. In 1979 visiting US producer Kim Fowley (The Runaways) was won over by the band, especially the energetic 'New Wave Goodbye'. He encouraged singer Fane Flaws and company to change their name, and concentrate on more original material.
This sci-fi telefeature for kids follows the adventures of runaways Peter (Toby Laing) and Maggie (Toni Driscoll), who meet when Maggie’s attempt to get Picnic bars on a five finger discount go awry and "rich brat" Peter is on the lam on a 10-speed. After falling into a grave of golden light at a farm cemetery, they wake up in the house of the strange Piper family. Laing is now trumpeter for Fat Freddys Drop, and a young Kerry Fox appears briefly as a policewoman in the opening. Scripted by veteran Ken Catran, the telefeature was re-cut from a four-part series.
When people think of Ginette McDonald, they often think of one of New Zealand’s most defiant and famed purveyers of Godzone English, Lyn of Tawa. But for McDonald, Lyn is only one part among many. Alongside an acting career which began when she was still a teenager, McDonald has also worked as a producer, director and presenter.