Five iconic NZ television moments

By Hayden Donnell

To celebrate the fifth birthday of NZ On Screen, we have compiled a list of five of the most memorable Kiwi TV moments.

Former TVNZ reporter Rod Vaughn. Photo / NZ On Screen
Former TVNZ reporter Rod Vaughn. Photo / NZ On Screen

NZ On Screen is turning five.

The website celebrating New Zealand's screen culture has made 1000s of Kiwi TV shows, films and music videos available online since going live in October 2008.

Many of the shows and clips in its archive are not available anywhere else.

To celebrate its birthday, the website has compiled a list of the greatest Kiwi TV moments of all time.

We have borrowed from their list to find our own top five iconic Kiwi TV moments.

1. Thingee loses an eye

It's a moment burned into the memories of all Kiwi kids who grew up in the 90s. The Son of a Gunn show, which followed Jason Gunn's adventures with his alien companion Thingee, was something to look forward to after the long boredom of a school day.

Then one afternoon in 1994, Thingee's eye popped out.

Gunn, ever the professional, gamely tried to carry on with the scene. Even Thingee, who was normally shot from the neck up, reappeared to deliver his lines with one arm unsuccessfully attempting to cover his gaping eye socket.

Still there was a sense of innocence lost. For the younger kids, it was undoubtedly traumatic. The moment has gone down in New Zealand television history.

John Key as a 25-year-old foreign exchange dealer.
John Key as a 25-year-old foreign exchange dealer.

2. John Key at 25

In 1987, current affairs show Close Up delivered a fascinating portrait of 25-year-old foreign exchange dealer John Key - a squash-playing high-flyer who went on to become Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Key's profile is an insight into how he gained the nickname "smiling assassin". His earnest, jovial answers belied the toughness that allowed him to succeed in the cut-throat world of money trading and later, politics.

3. D'Audney goes topless in sex farce

Loose Enz probably would have been a footnote in NZ television history if it weren't for one inexplicable episode. The plot of The Venus Touch focuses on Bruno Lawrence as a sexologist's patient who claims to have the magic touch with women. But what everyone remembers from the episode is Angela D'Audney, then one of the most high profile newsreaders in the country, posing topless.

The nation was shocked. Viewers complained to TVNZ. But D'Audney remained proud of her performance. She explained to the Herald that getting a response from her husband was crucial to the scene and she "would not have done that in a woollen nightie".

Angela D'Audney in The Venus Touch.
Angela D'Audney in The Venus Touch.

4. Bob Jones punches a reporter

Reporter Rod Vaughn thought he was onto a scoop when he hired a helicopter to track Bob Jones down at a river's edge near Turangi. The property developer had just made the surprise decision to put the New Zealand Party - then the third most popular party in the country - into recess for 18 months. Vaughn wanted an interview. Unfortunately for him, Jones was in no mood to give one.

The politician-in-recess stormed Vaughn and his cameraman, bloodying the reporter with a punch to the bridge of his nose. Vaughn narrated the experience in a memorable story for TVNZ. Jones was eventually fined $1000 for his actions. After receiving the punishment, he asked the judge if he paid $2000, could he please do it again?

5. Always blow on the pie.

It as began as a routine interrogation of a suspected car thief and ended as one of the world's most popular lessons on food safety.

Sergeant Guy Baldwin was being followed by Police 10/7 cameras when he received a call about a suspicious motorist. He found a suspect on a the side of the road and quizzed him about his intentions for the rest of the night. After the man told him he was going around the corner to buy a pie, Baldwin delivered a deadpan message.

"It's three o'clock in the morning and you're buying a pie from the BP station, what must you always do?" he said.

"I don't know," was the reply.

"At three o'clock in the morning that pie has been in the warming draw for probably about 12 hours. It'll be thermonuclear. You must always blow on the pie. Always blow on the pie. Safer communities together."

The clip made headlines worldwide and was viewed nearly 500,000 on YouTube. 'Always blow on the pie' T-shirts are still available around New Zealand. Baldwin explained that he was "making up conversation, trying a bit of humour". "Unfortunately, he didn't get it."









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