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Television, 1971–1972

Pukemanu is a prime contender for New Zealand's first drama series (1969 six-parter The Alpha Plan is the other). At a time when Kiwi TV presenters and actors still aped the accents of England, it offered characters that Kiwis could relate to: bicultural, boozy and blokey. Set in a North Island timber town, Pukemanu was conceived by ex forester Julian Dickon, who writes about its birth here. The show's two seasons (12 episodes in all) marked a key step in the evolution of Kiwi TV drama. It also provided early roles for actors like Pat Evison, Ian Mune and Ernie Leonard. Viewers and critics praised it; a proposed movie version never got made.