The Diary
Rachel Glucina looks at the top events and newsmakers of the day.

The Diary: Outrageous comedian will face visa scrutiny in NZ

Russell Brand's planned November show depends on official nod

British comedian Russell Brand is scheduled to perform a one-off show at Vector Arena in November, but a historic drug conviction that saw him deported from Japan last year could mean he's denied entry here.

"Russell Brand will have to apply for a visa to enter New Zealand and make full disclosure of his previous convictions. There is never a guarantee that any visa application will be approved," said a spokesman for Immigration New Zealand.

Brand was turfed out of Japan when his decade-old convictions were brought to light.

Japanese immigration officials declined to comment at the time on his deportation, but his now-divorced wife Katy Perry tweeted: "It was for priors from over 10 years ago."

The comedian narrowly avoided a prison sentence in the United States this year after smashing the phone of a paparazzi photographer.

It was the second such run-in with a member of the tabloid press and the law. Brand cut a deal with New Orleans prosecutors and agreed to pay court fees and perform community service, ducking a six-month jail stint.

Mike Tyson, who is also scheduled to appear at the Vector Arena days earlier, is yet to get his visa approved, Immigration NZ told The Diary.

The former world heavyweight boxing champion is due to speak at the Day of Champions event but his rape conviction may prevent his entering New Zealand.

"Immigration New Zealand can confirm that Mike Tyson has requested a special direction to enter New Zealand," the spokesperson said.

"His previous criminal convictions mean he is ineligible to be granted a visa unless he is given a special direction."

While a decision about Tyson's visa is yet to be made, the event hangs in the balance. However, a rep for Vector Arena said the venue management expected no issue with Tyson appearing.

The Herald reported this week that pre-sale tickets to the event had started selling, with ringside tickets sold out. Tickets for the general public go on sale next week.

Home buddies

Like a domestic goddess, All Black Ali Williams was busy browsing kitchen appliances and bathroom fittings at the Auckland Home Show at the weekend, but he didn't expect to run into Josh Kronfeld manning a stand.

Rugby legend Kronfeld, who was fronting the Choice TV pavilion, told The Diary it was a nice surprise to bump into his old friend. "It's always fun to see people at places like that. Ali was looking at home stuff with his wife [Casey Green]. We both had a woman under our arm. You know, we may be sports guys but we're just everyday people. We look at kitchen stuff," Kronfeld laughed.

Boxer Shane Cameron also made a cameo with his partner. Said Kronfeld: "I'd just been travelling around the country with Shane for a Child Cancer project, but I didn't expect to run into him at the Home Show too".

Kronfeld's interest in lifestyle products is work related, mostly. He will give up his stay-at-home-dad role to host Brunch - a daily lifestyle programme on Choice TV - alongside April Ieremia from September 24.

The hour-long show is made by Top Shelf Productions in Lower Hutt's Avalon Studios, sold this week to Avalon Holdings, owned by four Wellington businessmen.

Brunch will include food and fashion tidbits by MasterChef winner Brett McGregor and stylist Samantha Hannah, plus a weekly motoring segment fronted by former anchorman Neil Waka, who, when he's not at the Home Show with Kronfeld plugging a morning telly show, revs up Holden corporate affairs in his day job.

Hauraki pirates in movie

Move over, Jack Sparrow, some Kiwi pirates are coming to the silver screen and their story is a real tale of adventure and bravery. 3 Mile Limit, a local movie about the controversial early days of Radio Hauraki, will start filming in November and director/producer Craig Newland told The Diary it "will be a real eye-opener to generations of people who don't know about Hauraki's history".

In 1966, pirate Hauraki began broadcasting at sea after the Government refused to give it a radio licence. For more than three years, it broadcast from on board the Tiri, outside the three-mile territorial limit in the Hauraki Gulf, until it received a licence and could broadcast on land. The Radio Hauraki crew had spent 1111 days at sea.

The Hauraki story is said to have been the basis for the star-studded British comedy The Boat That Rocked, which starred comedian and Herald columnist Rhys Darby.

But the Kiwi movie, Newland says, will largely be a true story. "All the facts will be there but we will change the characters' names," he said.

Funded by a group of private investors, the film stars Matt Phelan of Go Girls fame, who will play the lead character.

Back Benches is back

Political panel show Back Benches was left homeless when its landlord, TVNZ7, was turfed out by the state broadcaster, who didn't so much change the locks as burn the house down. But good news: it's found new digs. Sky TV is supplying a home in the form of free-to-air channel Prime from February. Twenty episodes of Back Benches have been commissioned. They will be filmed at the Backbencher pub near Parliament and funded by Sky and NZ on Air.

- NZ Herald

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