Windswept beachiness, urban Balkan, Christchurch in the before time, racial unity, straight down, a ’90s fashion parade, tattoos, Auckland cool, velvet painting, getting seductive, and a bad lip sync.
Annie Crummer “Language”
This was a No.3 hit for Annie Crummer, effortlessly bringing Cook Island Maori into a contemporary pop track. The video, I’m going to assume, was filmed in the Cook Islands, so there are stunning sunsets, smiling children, palm trees and Annie looking windswept on the beach. A video like this seems pretty ordinary now, but back in 1992, it was unusual to see such a celebration of Pacific culture in a New Zealand music video.
Hinewehi Mohi “Potiki”
This is a strangely normal and yet deeply unusual music video. “Potiki” is an upbeat pop song, with Hinewehi’s lyrics in te reo Maori. She’s dressed in an whimsical outfit resembling a ’90s street casual version of Dalmatian national costume (maybe she has some ancestry), and spends the video being super perky as she sings the song around downtown Auckland. There are also a couple of little girls with red balloons, and plenty of shots of how Queen Street was in 1992.
Moana and the Moahunters “Rebel in Me”
As far as I can tell, this video didn’t actually receive NZ On Air funding, but the director has put “NZ On Air” in the video description on YouTube and it’s a culturally significant work so in it goes. The video is set in Christchurch, with much of it filmed in the heart of Cathedral Square, and even inside the ChristChurch Cathedral itself. Christchurch looks exactly like the bustling city it was, making it even sadder to consider how many of the buildings in the video have since been demolished. I think this is the only time that Stephanie Tauevihi has featured as one of the Moahunters.
Director: Anna Wilding
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
Matty J and the Soul Syndicate “Colour B.L.I.N.D.”
Matty J unleashed his ode to racial unity in a super cool new jack swing style, with guest backing vocals from Leeza Corban. The video depicts a stylised urban environment, complete with strategically placed corrugated iron. Sometimes the video feels like it could be set in any large city, but there are a few outdoor shots of unmistakable New Zealand streets. The song was a hit in the summer of 1993/94, peaking at No.13.
Director: Nigel Snowden
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Jules Issa “Found In You”
“Found in You” is a cheerful love song, a big contrast to Jules’ previous single, the menacing “Dangerous Game”. The video is shot in stark monochrome, but while this style worked in Paula Abdul’s super stylish video for “Straight Up” (directed by David Fincher), the sunny pop of “Found in You” seems at odds with the very cool and sophisticated black and white of the video.
Note: The video was available on YouTube, but it’s since been taken down. Listen to the audio here.
Strawpeople “Beautiful Skin”
Guest vocalist Victoria Kelly brings sultry elegance to the “Beautiful Skin” video. The video puts her on stage at the nightclub while the Mark and Paul Strawpeople watch her from their table. Victoria wears a series of outfits, meaning the video now functions as a parade of edgy fashion from the mid ’90s.
Emma Paki “Don’t Give It Up”
This is a very simple video. It focuses on Emma shot front on, reminiscent of the cover of her Greenstone album. So most of it is Emma lip-syncing, cut with close-ups of a naked male body, with particular focus on tattoos. It’s folky and bluesy and good.
So here’s an unusual situation. Sulata had video funding for four songs but only one of them (“Never”) had a video made. The others – “Motion”, “Find Yourself” and “Back to Hong Kong” don’t seem to have had a video made. But then along comes the “Mancini” video, complete with the rotating NZ On Air logo. I’d guess it was swapped with one of the three missing titles. I’m guessing “Back To Hong Kong”, another track from her album Kia Koe. Peter McLennan notes that the video was shot at Alba Cafe in Auckland, and features cameos from Oli Green from Urban Disturbance and Ermehn. There are good scenes of Sulata, though much of the video seems to involve creative use of stock footage.
Emma Paki “Paradise”
This is a very gentle video, with Emma shot like a real-life velvet painting. The video is set on a South Pacific island, and it uses the location both as a tropical idyll and the ordinary home of Pacific people.
Director: Kerry Brown
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
Indigenous Funk Company “Down With Me”
Aw yeah, ladies – Indigenous Funk Company get romantic. Unlike the group’s later tracks, this is mainly an R&B jam with a little rap in the middle. Things get a bit awkward with semi-naked people shot using weird camera angles. It’s not as seductive as it’s trying to be.
Ermehn “Stranded in the City”
When Ermehn isn’t rapping, the video gives its attention to a young woman who spends a lot of time fiddling with her bra top. Both she and Ermehn are found wandering around a cool Auckland inner-city apartment. How cool? It has lights on horizontal wires. The video has a non-sequitur ending – the sudden appearance of the song’s uncredited guest vocalist, outside on a balcony. She’s not great at lip syncing, but this could have been disguised with a bit of clever editing. Instead the ending feels like a let-down.
Note: This video was on YouTube but has since been removed. Listen to the audio here.