Weekend Rewind: Auckland icons on screen

By Nicky Harrop

Auckland Anniversary Weekend sees NZ On Screen’s Nicky Harrop take a tour of some of our city’s most iconic locations.
Made in 2002, documentary The Bridge examines its history, focusing on some of the notable events it has played host to. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Made in 2002, documentary The Bridge examines its history, focusing on some of the notable events it has played host to. Photo / Brett Phibbs

With a history of more than 175 years, and spanning an area of over 1,000 km2, Auckland is a city with plenty of stories. A trip in any direction will soon lead to an iconic landmark, building or place, many of which have been immortalised in song and on screen.

It stretches 7.3 kms across central Auckland, and hosts a vibrant mix of restaurants, retail and residential dwellings. However, for many, it's a mythical "half way house, half way down" that first springs to mind when Dominion Road is mentioned. In 1992, Don McGlashan titled a tale of loss and redemption after the road, which swiftly became a hit for his then-band The Mutton Birds and etched Dominion Road in our pop-culture consciousness forever. Today, its iconic halfway point is marked by a brass plaque.

See the video for The Mutton Birds Dominion Road here:



Nowadays the mention of Ponsonby Road conjures images of European cars, almond milk lattes and "activewear", but it wasn't always so. This late 80s TV doco looks at the area though the eyes of some of its oldest identities, capturing a pivotal time in it's transition from working class thoroughfare to gentrified dining destination. The footage of op shops and drop-in centres is a far cry from today's glitzy retailers, although the legendary Bhana Brothers hasn't changed too much. There's also a glimpse of the much-missed Gluepot Tavern.

Watch Real Lives - Ponsonby Road here:



Made in 1980, Queen Street captures a night on the town in our iconic main drag. Three friends cruise the strip in a 1946 Ford pickup, punctuated by hoons, officious cops and dodgy tow truck operators. A fascinating look at Kiwi car and street culture in the pre-boyracer era, Queen Street is a snapshot of a downtown that has changed markedly in the past four decades.

Watch Queen Street here:



Aside from offering stunning views of the Waitemata Harbour, Bastion Point remains one of Auckland's most historically significant locations. In 1977 protesters occupied the site, after the announcement of a housing development on land once belonging to Ngāti Whātua. Constructing a temporary marae, housing and vegetable gardens, they remained there for 506 days before being forcibly removed. Bastion Point - The Untold Story examines the rich and tragic history of the site, featuring extensive interviews with protest leader Joe Hawke, and footage from seminal documentary Bastion Point Day 507.

Watch Bastion Point - The Untold Story here:



A weekend institution for over 40 years, the Otara Market is New Zealand's largest Polynesian-style shopping experience, held every Saturday morning in the heart of South Auckland. Presented by Oscar Kightley (bro'Town, Sione's Wedding) this great documentary tells the stories of the multi-cultural stall-holders and market-goers who gather there each week.

See excerpts from Otara Market here:

Otara Market

Since 1959, the Auckland Harbour Bridge has reigned supreme as the city's most recognisable landmark. Made in 2002, documentary The Bridge examines its history, focusing on some of the notable events it has played host to. Included are AJ Hackett's legendary first bungy jump off it, the Dame Whina Cooper-led Māori land march of 1975, Fred Ladd's daredevil flight under its arch and more.

Watch The Bridge here:

The Bridge

You can see more great content at NZ On Screen's Auckland Collection.

- NZ Herald

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