By Insider – Suzanne Peri-Chapman
It was raining in downtown Auckland, a hard rain, the kind of rain that… sorry, got a bit film noir there for a minute. I wanted to see the New Zealand On Screen installation on Queens Wharf in Auckland as part of the REAL New Zealand Festival, and it seemed like a good indoorsy thing to do in the rain.
Easy to find! It’s housed in an imaginative space made of stacked containers, opposite the inflatable Giant Rugby Ball from Tourism New Zealand.
As you go in, there’s a photo of Our Sir Peter (Jackson, that is), a wee bit younger, and holding a chainsaw… those were the days. (If you don’t get the reference, you’ll have to come along to NZ On Screen find out).
Moving on in, you find that the exhibition has a very clever interactive screen, where you stand on the green carpet square and raise your hand and it follows your gestures to select what you want to see.
Hours of fun to be had in here… there are so many things to choose from, including a section called TV Icons, and who should I find in there but the dear wee “Goodnight Kiwi” – okay, may be hinting at my age now. The Goodnight Kiwi was the station close down animation, back in the days before all-night infomercials. I may start a petition to bring back the Goodnight Kiwi to TVNZ.
Billy T. James is also there, as are “Hudson and Halls” – two TV cooks who made merry in the kitchen. “Are we gay? Well, we’re certainly merry” being one of their quoteable quotes, in the days before the grimness of today’s crop of compete-to-the-death, reality cooking shows.
Around the corner, and there’s an Apple Mac with a searchable database (which is effectively the fantastic New Zealand On Screen website) which is chock full of iconic Kiwi TV, film, short film and music video footage. I though I’d give their database a workout, and typed in my late Uncle’s name, as he began his film career as a sound engineer in the New Zealand Film Unit. To my delight, several hits popped up with his name as the sound guy, including “Journey for Three” – a sort of drama/doco about English immigrants coming to New Zealand, made in 1950.
Note in the credits photo (sorry about lines, photographing computer screen in low light…) – Brian Brake as Camera Assistant, and Composer Douglas Lilburn. There’s no photo of my Uncle, so I shall send NZ On Screen a picture to include.
Moved around the corner again, to a fun little gadget called Scene Stealer, where you can pick a classic scene from various iconic Kiwi films or TV shows, and it takes a photo of you and places you in the scene you picked. So you snap a pic of yourself in Boy, in Count Homogenized or in Goodybe Pork Pie. You can then email it on to yourself or indeed anyone you would like to impress.
There appeared to be a steady trail of people going through the containers, and its certainly something I would recommend; for locals a touch of nostalgia or to catch up on the latest, or for the visitors, a great introduction to yes, you guessed it, New Zealand on Screen (www.nzonscreen.com).