Saturday, March 28, 2009

Feedback from NZ on Screen

I do like receiving feedback on stuff published here at Timespanner. This afternoon, I had the following email from Brenda Leeuwenberg, NZ On Screen's Project Director:

Hi there

Thanks for your recent posts on timespanner linking to NZ On Screen. It's great to see the site being picked up and people finding things of relevance there!

Here is a list I put together recently of Auckland-related items, not sure if it's quite what you're interested in. If it's more history or specific places, then the Search or Explore tool on the site should serve your purposes just as well.

Thanks again, and please do continue to use the site and see what's new!

Check out some of the following titles for a bit of nostalgia, a few laughs, and some celebratory wow-ness of Auckland and Aucklanders.

Town and Around: Auckland Highlights
Presenter Keith Bracey picks out the highlights for 1969 from the northern edition of magazine show Town and Around. This end of year special features two lconic turns by Barry Crump, plus a parting interview with English TV presenter (and future Pavlova Paradise author) Austin Mitchell, criticising the state of New Zealand’s media. Overall the concentration is more on comedy, with probing coverage of garden gnomes and a man who uses a carrot as a musical instrument.

Pasifika 2005

Presented by Samoan hip hop artist King Kapisi and transgender rock queen Ramon Te Wake, Pasifika 2005 documents the biggest Polynesian festival in the world. Held in Auckland every year since 1992, the Pasifika Festival is a free one-day event that celebrates Pacific Island culture, music, dance, food, arts and crafts and film. Held at Western Springs Park, and supported by Auckland City Council, Pasifika (as it's popularly known) attracts more than 140,000 people.

ASB Polyfest 2008

ASB Polyfest 2008 is an action-packed showcase of Māori and Pacific youth competing in the annual schools' cultural festival in South Auckland. Māori, Tonga, Samoa, Niue and Cook Islands performances, 100,000 people and trophies to be won make this competitive event one of the most important dates for youth in Auckland. Behind the scenes footage, colourful costumes, trials and tribulations and "the Pacific way" are captured. Made by the Tagata Pasifika team, with directors including Naked Samoans Shimpal Lelisi and Mario Gaoa.

Sione's Wedding

A feel-good comedy about four 30-something guys who must each find a girlfriend before their best friend Sione's wedding - or be left out in the cold. Through the efforts of these bumbling blokes to get the girl(s) Sione's Wedding brings to life the colour and humour of New Zealand's urban Samoan community in Auckland, the largest Polynesian city in the world.

The Road to Jerusalem

Readings from the poems of James K Baxter trace the poet's life through its various New Zealand locations, and provide a biographical voice in this film by Bruce Morrsion (co-written with Dr. Paul Millar). Baxter's family and friends discuss the man and his work, and the readings and beautifully shot landscapes fill in the gaps. The film won Best Documentary at the 1998 Film and TV Awards. The opening montage, describing "the chugging noise of masturbation from the bedrooms of the bourgeois" of Auckland, is seminal Baxter.

Lew Pryme - Welcome to My World

Lew Pryme’s life was a wild ride that took in everything from rock and roll to rugby before it was cut short by AIDS in 1990. He was discovered in the small Taranaki town of Waitara in the sixties and became one of the most popular hip-swinging music stars of the time. He later became the first executive director of Auckland Rugby Union.

A slice of life amongst the pedestrians of Auckland's Karangahape Road shot in an increasingly hilarious baton relay-style narrative. Directed by Bill Toepfer this classic New Zealand short film features both halves of musical comedy team, The Front Lawn (Harry Sinclair and Don McGlashan) playing all the roles in a range of disguises.

Clare is based on the autobiographical book Fate Cries Enough by Clare Matheson. It describes the experiences of the author, who, for 15 years, was one of the women unwittingly part of a disastrous gynaecological study at Auckland's National Women's Hospital that would become known as ‘The Unfortunate Experiment'.


A 24-hour live television spectacular aimed at securing donations from viewers for a specific charitable causes. The first, in 1975 (for St John Ambulance) was Auckland only, but subsequent Telethons were broadcast nationwide. Beneficiaries included The Child Health Foundation, the Mental Health Foundation and the Arthritis & Rheumatism Foundation. Celebrities included Basil Brush and Leeza Gibbons, as well as local identities and the perennial host, Peter Sinclair.

Hero Parade

Marching girls and boys, Camp Mother and Camp Leader, even synchronised lawnmowers, dance down Auckland’s Ponsonby Road in this celebration of gay pride. The theme was Age of Aquarius, fitting given the heavy rain, and the parade went ahead despite controversy that almost saw it cancelled. The parade was saved by sponsorship from Metro Magazine after the City Promotions Committee declined the request for funding. The parade had 70 floats, and up to 300,000 spectators.

The Magical World of Misery

Innovative director Mark Albiston (Sticky Pictures) takes viewers on a magical tour of the work of artist Tanya Thompson, aka Misery. The film explores Misery's early years as a prominent but self-conscious graffiti artist on the streets of Auckland and looks at the rise of her successful art, fashion and toy empire, culminating in a visit to the Taipei Toy Festival to showcase her collectable 3D characters.

The Mighty Civic

The Mighty Civic is a delirious and colourful celebration of Auckland's grandest old movie palace, made at a time when the building's future was under threat. The film uses a mixture of stylised sequences, archive footage and poetic narration together with interviews with "old timers" to evoke the spirit of the theatre in its heyday. Director Peter Wells' film galvanised public support, and ultimately the building was saved and refurbished to remain the crown jewel of Queen Street's cinema district.

City Life

City Life follows a group of apartment-dwelling Twenty-somethings (lawyers, bar-tenders, drug-dealers, art dealers, et al) on the emotional merry-go-round of urban living. The tight-knit group of friends are thrown into conflict when one of their own decides to marry outside the circle. The television series was a conscious effort to create popular drama relevant to contemporary Auckland ‘city life' and to appeal to a Gen X demographic - to inject Melrose Place into Mt Eden.


A talkback radio operator is forced to stand in for the regular host when he walks out because of a personal crisis. In between trying to answer calls, organize a replacement and discuss odd topics with a succession of callers, the flustered operator makes a surprising connection with another lost soul. Auckland's urban soul is captured with distinctive assurance in this neglected television short film from writer (with Geoff Chapple) and director Alison McLean.

Pictorial Parade No.185

Pictorial Parade was a long-running series produced by the National Film Unit. This duo from 1966 includes, ‘Championship Golf,’ a jaunty commentary narrates the final game of a four-match series played on Auckland’s Middlemore golf course between Arnold Palmer and Bob Charles; and ‘Sounds of Progress,’ an instructional film from the Department of Health, which draws attention to the dangers of industrial noise and offers advice on how to avoid it.

About Face: Danny and Raewyn

Gritty, award-winning drama, set in Auckland suburbia. Danny and Raewyn's relationship is skating close to the edge. And so are their finances. Though the physical attraction between them remains, Raewyn is growing tired of encouraging Danny to make more effort. Then one night alcohol and memory collide with an order of black-market meat, and everything turns on its head. One of the most acclaimed episodes of the About Face series, Danny and Raewyn won funding after another episode fell through.

About Face: Universal Drive

Sean's prize possession is a 1958 red and white Ford Fairlane. His sister Annie works in an auto paint shop. But Annie is sick of playing shotgun, while her brother drives. What she wants is Sean's trust, and the chance to use her spraypainting talents to give the Fairlane a new look. After the Fairlane is stolen, the pair find themselves caught up in an adventure which tests their relationship. Writer Debra Daley based the script partly on growing up in the ‘car culture' of West Auckland.

Anzac Day Dawn Service

A live broadcast of the Anzac Day dawn service at Waikumete Cemetery in Auckland. This is New Zealand's largest war cemetery and a service is held here each year. This service commemorates all service personnel who have served overseas for New Zealand. Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey speaks, Returned Services Association members, politicians and the public lay tributes. Miriama Kamo provides a commentary. This programme marked the beginning of TV ONE's Anzac Day coverage, which ran on air all day.

Gladiator: The Norm Hewitt Story

Gladiator: the Norm Hewitt story is the story of former All Black hooker Norm Hewitt's battle with alcoholism and his journey to redemption. After disgracing himself, a tearful public apology became a personal "defining moment" for Hewitt: he reinvented himself as a youth worker and ambassador for Outward Bound. Directed by Michael Bennet, shot by Rewa Harre and based on the best-selling biography by Michael Laws the doco takes him to meet legendary youth worker Mama Teri on the streets of South Auckland, and chronicles Hewitt's life change.

Aotearoa Hip Hop Summit

The Aotearoa Hip Hop Summit held in Auckland 2001, was the biggest hip hop event ever staged in New Zealand. This documentary showcases the hottest names in the 4 elements of NZ hip hop: break dancers, graf artists, MCs and DJs. Featuring international acts from Germany and Australia, with Ken Swift representing old skool break dancing from New York and Tha Liks from Los Angeles. Local acts include Che Fu, Te Kupu, King Kapisi, P Money and DJ Sirvere. Presenters are Hayden Hare and Trent Helmeright.

Nesian Mystik - For The People

This documentary charts the extraordinary success of Auckland hip hop band Nesian Mystik, from their beginnings as an inner-city school band to gold albums and international acclaim. Filmed in New Zealand, London and Tonga the documentary explores the multi-cultural roots of the band members and the inspiration for their poetic lyrics. Director Makerita Urale uses the Nesian Mystik story as a micro lens to reflect the wider picture of Māori, Pacific Island and Pakeha society in New Zealand.


This animated TV comedy series is a modern day fairytale following the adventures of five kids growing up in one of Auckland’s grungier suburbs. With a fearless and un-PC wit, it also cheekily manages to be primetime and family-friendly. This popular show is made by the production house Firehorse Films, developed from the comedy of the theatre group Naked Samoans.

Otara Markets

Otara Markets documents the biggest outdoor market in New Zealand, held every Saturday in the heart of South Auckland. Presented by Samoan writer and comedian Oscar Kightley (bro'Town, Naked Samoans, Sione's Wedding) and directed by Lisa Taouma (Senior Director Tagata Pasifika), this colourful and entertaining documentary tells the stories of the multi-cultural Polynesian, Asian, Indian and Pakeha Kiwi stall-holders and market-goers at one of the country's best known community institutions.


Thanks, Brenda. Don't hesitate to contact me with anything new regarding Auckland or general NZ heritage in the future which you would like to promote.

1 comment:

  1. Been exploring some of the films there, they're fantastic time wasters, real good value lol ;)