Local news was a staple of pre-network 1960s NZ television, and retained its popularity in the network era. The amalgamation of TV1 and SPTV in 1980 produced regional shows The South Tonight and The Mainland Touch in the South Island, and Today Tonight in Wellington. Top Half covered the area spanning from Turangi to North Cape. It was presented for six years by the "dream team" of John Hawkesby and Judy Bailey (latter succeeded by Natalie Brunt in 1986). Amid some controversy, regional news on TVNZ was eased out by Holmes and the arrival of a new era of TV.

Top Half - Excerpts

Television, 1983–1989 (Excerpts)

For nine years TVNZ's Top Half brought local news to Auckland and the upper North Island. In these excerpts there's a tantalising before and after glimpse of a David Bowie concert at Western Springs; the people of Ponsonby worry that their suburb's character is being lost to developers; Dylan Taite finds country rockers The Warratahs busking on Ponsonby Road; and in K Road, there is coverage of a multicultural street festival, and concerns about how encroaching sleaze is affecting local retailers; plus a cute story about a baby orangutan and a camera-shy mother.

Top Half - Johnny Devlin

Television, 1984 (Excerpts)

In this interview at Auckland's Foundry nightclub, New Zealand's own rock'n'roll star Johnny Devlin discusses his career and latest musical projects. Talking to Top Half reporter John Hawkesby, he provides advice on making it in the music business, talks about his changing musical styles over the years, and reveals how he was affected by the death of his idol Elvis Presley. The interview concludes with a glimpse of the latest song Devlin has been working on, “I’m Heading for LA”, which was released to coincide with the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Top Half - Rowan Atkinson

Television, 1983 (Excerpts)

Thanks to BBC sketch show Not the Nine O'Clock News, Rowan Atkinson was a BAFTA-winning comedy star when he toured New Zealand back in 1983. Atkinson and Kiwi reporter Chas Toogood hatched a plan to turn the clichéd celebrity interview on its head, by Toogood never actually getting to interview his quarry. Atkinson shot each scene just once. The piece was done for regional news show Top Half in an Auckland hotel, near the end of a Kiwi tour. Atkinson's show Blackadder had debuted just two months previously. He would go on to star as Mr Bean and Johnny English. 

Produced by

TVNZ