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The Champion

Television, 1989

The last drama to be made in-house by TVNZ, The Champion was written by noted author Maurice Gee at the invitation of producer Ginette McDonald, after the pair's success with The Fire-Raiser. Set in a small Kiwi town over three weeks in 1943, it centres on 12-year-old Rex (Milan Borich — later the lead singer in Pluto) and the black American GI billeted with his family. This tough, accomplished drama looks unflinchingly at racism and prejudice, both imported and local. Director Peter Sharp writes here about battling budgets and tides — and being blessed by a great script. And read here about how the show began in Maurice Gee's childhood.