Moana and the Moahunters “Peace, Love and Family”

After being part of the original trio of NZ On Air-funded videos, “Peace, Love and Family” was Moana and the Moahunters’ second funded vid, again directed by Kerry Brown. The song mixes up tikanga Maori with contemporary dance music, being probably the only pop song that starts with a staunch “Tihei mauri ora!” before launching into house beats.

The video isn’t trying to be cool (but does it anyway). It’s a joyful celebration of the values in the song – peace, love and family. We meet a large group of the Moahunter whanau. They’re having a good kanikani outside at what looks to be a traditional marae.

The serious verses are delivered with a matching visual tone. Moana earnestly singings the lyrics, overlaid with historic photos of Maori experiencing hard times. Her solution to these troubles? Why, peace love and family, of course. The colourful chorus kicks in and Moana’s joined by the Moahunters – Teremoana and Mina.

Back outside, everyone’s dancing it up, having a great time. This is not a world of the professionally choreographed music video. It’s uncles and aunties doing uncle-and-auntie dancing. And because it’s the early ’90s, everyone has their t-shirts tucked into their jeans.

The song turns into a bit of a free-for-all: Matty J pops up for a one-line cameo (“It’s not my problem, hey!”), Teremoana does a ragga rap, Moana has a sultry chant, and Mina finishes with a karakia

Best bit: the enthusiastic dancing from the lady in the pink powersuit.

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… October 1992: having a sickie.

Jules Issa “Dangerous Game”

Jules Issa made a moody dance version of “Dangerous Game”, originally by New Zealand reggae band Diatribe. Peter at Dub Dot Dash has a bit about both.

It’s a very stylish music video. Similar to the look of Moana and the Moahunters videos, Jules is elegantly dressed in contemporary Maori fashion. She’s shot in a black studio, dramatically surrounded by carved pou, with subtly changing mood lighting.

In another setting, Jules is accompanied by the dramatic shadow of a man brandishing a taiaha, busting some mau rakau moves. (I’ve said ‘dramatic’ twice already; it’s a very dramatic video). In this setting, Jules is also joined by another warrior and two women who join her in dancing, everyone but Jules is lit in shadows.

So far it seems inspired by the video for Soul II Soul’s 1989 hit “Back to Life”, but we can’t stay cooped up with that groove forever. It’s out onto the streets, where Jules and three cool dudes are casually hanging around the back of a building, behind a chain-link fence – music video shorthand for gritty and urban.

I like what this video has done. In the early ’90s, formation dancing was very popular, and with this being a dance track, it makes sense to have dancing in the video. But rather than go for generic club moves, “Dangerous Game” digs deeper into the themes of the song and uses both traditional and contemporary Maori movement.

Best bit: the urban excursion, getting a bit of fresh air.

Director: William Roberts
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… February 1992: tuck in your t-shirt.

The 3Ds “Outer Space”

Cardboard sci-fi props, perfectly cheesy green screen use, Masonic symbology, scenic Dunedin, general malarky and an incredible pop song. I am so glad that this video exists.

Not only does the “Outer Space” video perfectly match the tone of The 3Ds’ first single of their first album “Hellzapoppin”, but it also lets the band’s deadpan non-rock-star vibe fit right into the crazy going-on. It’s like they’re all so bored with all the alien business that they can’t be bothered freaking out any more.

It’s also refreshing to see a New Zealand video that’s obviously set in a specific location, rather than in a studio or the nonspecific urban world of videolandia. The Dunedin Cathedral looks goth as well as gothic, and the countryside has that gorgeous Dunedin light. I can see why it would attract UFOs.

Best bit: Denise’s third eye. It blinks.

Director: Mairi Gunn
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… peace, love and ecstasy.

Southside of Bombay “All Across the World”

Southside of Bombay’s follow-up single after “What’s the Time Mr Wolf” is the uplifting “All Across the World”. It’s a happy singalong good vibes experience, and the video includes a big group sing.

There is also scenes in a strange minimalist art gallery place, hands clutches rosary beads, hongiing, men in prison, live performance footage, little kids being cute, and close-ups of people looking very meaningful and/or mysterious. This is world of slow motion, where people move their heads in very meaningful ways.

And Mr Bob Marley also gets a mention, with a poster prominently placed in the background. Indeed, notes the influence of Tuff Gong on “the Maoris of New Zealand”.

The song ends with the classic truck-driver gear-shift chord change, while the aforementioned little kids frolic with flags of the world. Hopefully this will cheer up the grim-faced men behind bars.

Best bit: the little girl who carefully hands a boy a ti rakau stick instead of throwing it like the other kids.

Director: Richard Bluck
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… we dream of a time and place in outer space.

Push Push “What My Baby Likes”

Recently a friend expressed surprise that Push Push had more than one single. She was watching the video for their second single, “Song 27”. But there’s even more! “What My Baby Likes” was their third and final single.

Hey, why did we mock Push Push? This video is awesome. “What My Baby Likes” is an extravagant, energetic rock fest, complete with flaming flames of fire, and hair, glorious hair. Mikey Havoc is alive with pleasure, and he could teach the Hoi Polloi lady a few things about appearing energetic without hamming.

It’s so joyous, and Havo totally sells the cheesy lyrics – “We made love in the Himalayaaaaas!” The video has a small plot with the appearance of an actual baby, and the suggestion that he is responsible for all the fire.

Push Push had toned down from their teen glam metal days and were going for more of a grunge look, but the excesses of the grunge era were fast falling out of favour to the more stripped down and “authentic” grunge-era. The flaming flames of fire? They were burning the last strands of glam.

Best bit: Mikey’s shorts ‘n’ flannel shirt combo.

Director: Chris Mauger
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the south side extends worldwide.

Hoi Polloi “Rest Tonite”

Hoi Polloi were an “alternative gospel band”, and indeed “Rest Tonite” starts with a gospel choir. But then all that is swept to the side for some Christian pop, with a lead singer who sounds like an overexcited Margaret Urlich.

She’s even more excited in the music video, ripping out her hair band and shaking down her hair, vigorously strumming her guitar and singing so hard she bends over with the exertion.

Footage of the band’s performance (in a warehouse – edgy) is cut with literal depictions of the lyrics. “Fields on fire” is a burning newspaper, “breaking china” shows a coffee cup smash, “child cries” is a baby crying. This leads me to belief that the song isn’t metaphorically about someone wanting a break from the stress of the world, but someone who just wants a good night’s sleep without their cat coming in and walking on their face, meowing to be fed.

There’s also some outdoor footage of the singer at a beach, and she’s wearing a white peasant blouse. That’s the third one I’ve seen so far. Even I had ditched my peasant blouse by ’92. If I see a fourth one, I’m taking a drink.

Best bit: the lead singer gets so overcome with singing the song that she doubles over.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Mikey is a twisted fire-starter.

Head Like a Hole “Fish Across Face”

“Fish Across Face” suddenly appeared out of the blue, settled in at number nine in the charts and left everyone wondering who exactly this Head Like a Hole musical group was.

From their early metal years, the “Fish Across Face” video features the band naked (but for body paint) in most scenes. But Wikipedia says the video was banned for a different reason – in one very brief shot, liquid flows from the mouth of one HLAH to another (and apparently it was orange juice). At the time there was a meningitis outbreak, so concerned authorities didn’t want kids to copy this thing. They might as well ban pashing.

As well as the body paint, there’s high jinks in the ocean, at a rubbish dump and on a bouncy castle. While it all looks like a fun low budget video, there’s a rather sophisticated crane shot right at the end (or is it just a guy standing on a ladder).

“Fish Across Face” seems like such a perfect NZ On Air music video – the band stretches the budget as far as it will go, has fun and generally creates a ruckus that keep them buoyant for years to come.

Best bit: bouncy castle fun times!

Director: Nigel Streeter
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… really feeling the love of Jesus.

Headless Chickens “Donde Esta La Pollo”

“Donde Esta La Pollo” was to New Zealanders what “Sesame Street” was to Americans: a source of basic Spanish. Fortunately the video doesn’t linger on the Spanish factor, instead picking up on the carnival vibe of the song.

How cool were the Headless Chickens? While their compatriots were jigging about in front of green screens, the Chooks kept it real. They invited all their freaky friends into a circus tent and just filmed the decadent freakiness.

Ok, there was probably more to it than that, but no one in the video looks like they’re helping their mates make a music video; they all look like they regularly do freaky things in a circus tent and they probably all have more sex than you do. That’s how cool they were.

This video has a great tension between fun and unease, like they’re just one glass of absinthe away from terrible, terrible times. And I bet there would have been a few crazy religious parents who declared this video to be evil and forbade their kids from watching it.

Even though this is just one side of the Headless Chickens experience, this is how I like to remember them at their peak.

Best bit: the hairy guy with the egg in his mouth.

Directors: Bruce Sheridan, Rachael Churchward
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… an inappropriate public health act.

The Exponents “Sink Like a Stone”

After trying to make it big overseas, the Dance Exponents had returned to New Zealand, rebranded as just The Exponents and released their new single “Why Does Love Do This To Me”, which promptly tore up the charts to number three and provided a rugby singalong anthem for many years to come.

Their follow-single, “Sink Like a Stone”, a Beatles-esque pop track, didn’t quite have the same chart heat. In fact, you could say it sank like a stone. Shut up.

The video is your basic green-screen set-up, only with an outdoors twist. The band performs the song in various outdoor locations, filmed in black and white, with cRaZy colourful graphics of the urban landscape swirling behind them.

The song lyrics talk of New York and the adventure of travel. Perhaps the exotic locations green-screened in behind the band are a way of bringing some big metropolitan groove on a budget. $5000 can only go so far.

Best bit: Jordan takes his hat off and has bad hat hair.

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the circus come to town.