This edition of Prime TV’s history of New Zealand television looks at 50 years of entertainment. The smorgasbord of music, comedy and variety shows ranges from 60s pop stars to Popstars, from the anarchy of Blerta to the anarchy of Telethon, from Radio with Pictures to Dancing with the Stars. Music television moves from C’mon and country, to punk and hip hop videos. Comedy follows the formative Fred Dagg and Billy T, through to Eating Media Lunch and 7 Days. A roll call of New Zealand entertainers muse on seeing Kiwis laugh, sing and shimmy on the small screen.
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.
‘Black Box’ was the winning song for Australian Idol victor Stan Walker. His first music video was shot in Sydney two days after his triumph. It's set at a mansion poolside party, with Idol finalists and family members among the extras. The black box in question might hold the records of a romantic crash, not an aviation disaster, but this recriminatory look back at a failed relationship brought sweet success for Walker. It spent 10 consecutive weeks at the top of the New Zealand singles chart, and won four Tuis at the 2010 NZ Music Awards.
Australian Idol winner Stan Walker made his acting debut in Tearepa Kahi’s feature film Mt Zion, as a potato picker from Pukekohe who dreams of supporting his idol Bob Marley at Marley's 1979 Auckland concert. This song from the film’s soundtrack combines Mt Zion’s reggae sounds with Walker’s more R’n’B/soul style. The video mixes scenes from the film with a performance from Walker (displaying the tattoos that were deemed too modern for a period piece, and had to be covered up for the movie).
Television producer Gavin Wood has worked on some of New Zealand’s biggest game shows and live events. His first producing role saw him bring Sale of the Century to our screens, which was soon joined by Wheel of Fortune. His career path led him from TVNZ to TV3, then offshore working for FremantleMedia. Returning to New Zealand, Wood turned his producing talents to the third season of New Zealand Idol, TV coverage of the state funeral of Sir Paul Reeves, and the Pike River and Christchurch earthquake memorial services.
In April 1984 Billy Idol visited New Zealand to promote his second (and most successful) solo album Rebel Yell. Interviewed by Radio with Pictures legend Karyn Hay, he answers her call for a closing rebel yell, talks about the origins of his name and early hit 'White Wedding'; argues he appeals to the intelligence of his audience; criticises racism towards the United States, a country full of "ordinary people who struggle everyday"; and argues that confidence and "a pretty heavy attitude" are key to survival in a music industry that is more concerned with money than art.
Australian Idol winner Stan Walker made his acting debut in this hit feature, as aspiring singer Turei. Part of a whānau of Māori potato pickers from Pukekohe, he has to choose between duty to job and family (Temuera Morrison plays his hard-working Dad) and letting the music play. His dilemma takes place as reggae star Bob Marley performs in Aotearoa in 1979, offering the chance for Turei's band Small Axe to win a supporting slot at Marley's Western Springs concert. Released on Waitangi Day 2013, Tearepa Kahi's debut feature became the most successful local release of the year.
Described by writer John Dix as "New Zealand's first television pop idol", Mr Lee Grant won hysterical fans while making regular appearances on 60s music show C'Mon, after winning a radio talent quest. Loxene Golden Disc winner 'Thanks to You' was one of three Grant singles to top the local charts. Born as Bogdan Kominowski to Polish parents in a WWII concentration camp, he reverted to his birth name after relocating to the United Kingdom. His acting career includes a minor part in 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill, and the starring role on an Australasian tour of Phantom of the Opera.
This episode of the Prime profile series follows a day in the life of driver Greg Murphy. The motorsport idol cycles to work — the Adelaide first round of the 2005 V8 Supercar series. There he adjusts to a new team after his 2004 Bathurst 1000 victory (the fourth time he's won the touring car race seen as the pinnacle of Australian motorsport). The down-to-earth Holden pinup charms sponsors and fans; discusses being an honorary Aussie; defends motor-racing as a sport; and when Murphy's gear-box blows it underlines his appreciation of success borne from struggle.
R&B singer and TV personality Stan Walker (Tūhoe/Ngāti Tūwharetoa) was born in Melbourne but raised in New Zealand. After moving back across the Tasman, he won Australian Idol in 2009 and launched a music career which has included a chart-topping album (From The Inside Out) and single (‘Black Box’), plus multiple NZ Music Awards. In 2013, Walker he helped judge the first series of X Factor NZ and made his film debut as star of box office hit Mt Zion — playing a potato picker with dreams of supporting Bob Marley. 2014 saw the release of ensemble te reo single 'Aotearoa'.