Sam Hunt

This Spotlight collection celebrates poet, raconteur and all-round New Zealand living legend Sam Hunt. The collection features screen highlights from Hunt's life and career — from his Catching the Tide and Roaring 40's Tour TV specials, to excerpts from his biographical documentary Sam Hunt: Purple Balloon and Other Stories.

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Catching the Tide - Sam Hunt's Cook Strait

Film, 1988 (Documentary)

Poet Sam Hunt goes "between islands" on a home turf tour. To a backdrop of languid 'good day' Strait's scenery, he yarns with locals about stories of land and sea, and recites poetry: "[it's all about just] standing back and listening ... or watching". He chats with Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, goes groper fishing off Mana, and hears of a plan to float on a flax flutterboard across the Strait. Hunt then gets himself across via ferry for whaling stories at Oxley's Rock pub and meets boatbuilders and Cape Jackson farmers. Includes (brutal) archival whaling footage.

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The Roaring 40's Tour

Television, 1995 (Documentary)

In this documentary, poet Sam Hunt and raconteur Gary McCormick shake out the ache of descending middle age and hit the road for an old fashioned ‘rock and roll style’ poetry tour, up and down the country. Starting in Invercargill, the longtime mates make their way up the length of the country, sharing stories, anecdotes and of course, poems along the way. Here are two people's poets, one arguably great, the other certainly good, captured in full flight during their prime.

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Artists Prepare: Sam Hunt and Gary McCormick

Short Film, 1980 (Arts/Culture)

Artists Prepare was an NFU series that featured prominent performance-based artists of the time. The edition follows poets Sam Hunt and Gary McCormick (the "John Travolta of New Zealand poetry") on tour in the Nelson region as they give poetry readings, talk to high school girls, drink whiskey, and muse about poetry and life - while Minstrel, Hunt's dog, lies patiently under bar tables. Ultra-tight stovepipe jeans, rock-star scarves, scenes in a milk bar and out on the open road in a Valiant evoke a time when poetry and heartthrob weren't antonyms.

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Sam Hunt: Purple Balloon and other stories

Film, 2010 (Documentary, Arts/Culture)

Sam Hunt is NZ’s best known and most visible contemporary poet; and, in an archive excerpt from this feature length documentary, Ginette McDonald calls him “the most impersonated man in New Zealand”. Director Tim Rose, who has known Hunt since he was a boy, decided too little was known about him beyond his flamboyant, public persona. So Rose spent four years maknig this film, mixing a wealth of archive material with interviews with Hunt, and those who know him best, and new footage of him reading his work and performing with David Kilgour.

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Mercury Lane - Series Two, Episode Two

Television, 2003 (Documentary, Arts/Culture)

Mercury Lane was a story-driven arts show that generally included a cluster of short documentaries, poetry and musical performances in each hour-long episode. This episode of the Greenstone-produced arts series features Sam Hunt interviewing acclaimed New Zealand poet Alistair Te Ariki Campbell. Campbell discusses his early childhood in the Cook Islands as the child of a Pākehā father and Polynesian mother, and reads a selection of poems. The programme ends with Auckland pianist Tamas Vesmas playing a Debussy prelude at the Auckland Art Gallery.

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A Summer Place

Television, 1995 (Documentary)

This beautifully-shot documentary is a social and architectural history of the great NZ bach (or crib for those south of the Waitaki). Maggie Barry tracks their evolution from workers’ cottages to a fully fledged icon in danger of extinction: as the blind eye turned by councils that made them possible becomes a thing of the past, and the coastline becomes too valuable to allow ‘just anyone’ to erect a shack on it. The Kiwi spirit that created the building is celebrated; and bach enthusiasts interviewed include Sam Hunt, Keri Hulme, Karl Stead and Rawiri Paratene.

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Sam Hunt

Poet

Sam Hunt, QSM, is arguably our best-known, best-selling poet. The idiosyncratic Hunt published the first of many poetry collections aged 23. Since then he has performed in pubs, schools, and with the NZSO. Hunt presented doco Catching the Tide, and can be seen touring with poet Gary McCormick in The Roaring 40's and Artists Prepare. He is also subject of the five years in the making Sam Hunt: Purple Moon, releasing late May 2011.