Weekend Rewind: Real Housewives on screen

By Nicky Harrop

As The Real Housewives of Auckland continues to grab headlines, NZ On Screen’s Nicky Harrop revisits some of the other colourful housewives from our screen history.
How would previous female characters stack up against the The Real Housewives of Auckland? Photo / Greg Bowker
How would previous female characters stack up against the The Real Housewives of Auckland? Photo / Greg Bowker

The last few decades of Kiwi television have seen some formidable female characters (both real and imagined) grace our screens. But how would they stack up against the The Real Housewives of Auckland? Our votes are in.

In 1994, Chloe Reeves was catapulted from a Lower Hutt suburb to national fame, via an episode of TV series Heartland. Chloe of Wainuiomata - as she soon became known - left a more than lasting impression with her tiger slippers, squeaky voice and 'unique' take on fashion. We think she'd make for a great Real Housewives comeback.

See Chloe of Wainuiomata here (at approx. 6:30 in this Heartland excerpt):



Another Wellington housewife, Lyn of Tawa - the alter-ego of actor Ginette McDonald - remains one of the great Kiwi characters. Not shy of speaking her mind - and mangling a few vowels along the way - this is a woman who gets what she wants. Here she goes in search of the ultimate Kiwi bloke, displaying prowling skills that would leave the Real Housewives for dust.

See Lyn of Tawa - In Search of the Great New Zealand Male here:

Lyn of Tawa - In Search of the Great New Zealand Male

While she may come up a little short in the glamour stakes, we think Shortland Street's Marj Neilson could more than hold her own in the Real Housewives pack. Guarding the clinic reception like a ferocious lioness, there was literally nothing getting past Marj for many of the street's formative years. Fond of gossip, we suspect her eyebrows may well be have been raised by the behaviour of the current batch of Housewives. 'Mind your beeswax' indeed.

See Marj in the debut episode of Shortland Street here:



Real Housewives vs. Cheryl West? We know who our money would be on in a fight. In her quest to set her family on the straight and narrow the Outrageous Fortune matriarch single-handedly kicks more ass than the Housewives could muster with ten times their combined stiletto collection.

See Cheryl here, in the debut episode of Outrageous Fortune:



But it's not all suburban stereotypes, drama series The Strip saw 30-something Wellington lawyer Melissa (Luanne Gordon) give up a corporate career to reinvent herself as the manager of a male strip review in central Wellington. Making a successful business out of ogling naked men - perfect training for a future Housewife.

Watch an excerpt from The Strip here:




While we can't even imagine the fallout from labelling her a housewife, our pick for the real Auckland housewife title, hands down, goes to Maxine Redfern from 80s glamour-soap Gloss. Capable of delivering the most withering of one-liners, Maxine would plough through the Real Housewives with barely a glance over her well-padded shoulders.

See Maxine here, in the debut episode of Gloss:

Gloss - First Episode

And we couldn't resist adding this flashback from one of the current Real Housewives. See Louise Wallace here, playing hard-nosed lawyer Adie Saunders in local drama Street Legal:



- NZ Herald

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