Bags of laughter for locals before director calls 'cut'

By Nathan Crombie

Laughter and dancing in the Wairarapa College hall marked the final on-road episode of the season for top-rating TV show It's In The Bag, says director Tainui Stephens.

Last Friday's filming at "the beautifully appointed" hall was the last recording of It's In The Bag before the grand final in Rotorua in April or May, he said.

Mr Stephens, Te Rarawa, directs the 30-minute shows and partner Libby Hakaraia, Ngati Raukawa, is producer.

Independent television production company Blue Bach Productions revived the quiz show created by the late Selwyn Toogood, which initially began as a radio show in the 1950s.

Mr Stephens also produces alongside his partner an hour-long music show, My Country Song, which is co-hosted by Dennis Marsh, Maniapoto, and Saelyn Guyton, Ngai Tahu.

He said shooting for the quiz show was last week completed at Tararua College in Pahiatua, ahead of filming for the penultimate episode at Wairarapa College in Masterton.

The music show was in turn shot at each location the following evening.

The production crew included 33 members and the music show will premiere on Maori TV in April, Mr Stephens said.

"This is the last episode in our series of It's In The Bag and it couldn't have been better. There were about three rows of Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitane kuia, and they were loud and proud as they cheered on all the contestants," he said.

Mr Stephens said the Masterton show was a night for big prizes, as a TV, a dishwasher, and a multi-kai cooker were won, along with booby prizes.

"But as one kuia said 'It's just great to take part. I don't care about the money'. That was the attitude of the very last contestant for the night. He was a big, bald fulla and he won some hair straighteners. The house erupted once again," Mr Stephens said.

"It was a perfect way to end this part of the series, great to go out on a laugh. And after the show those kuia in the front three rows got up to sing a lovely waiata as only a bunch of nanas know how to. It was sweet and delicious and full of mana and aroha."

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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