Friday, October 23, 2009

Free NZ films to celebrate Labour Day!

Workers of New Zealand unite!

While you’re relaxing this long weekend, take some time out to reflect on the reason you’re enjoying a holiday and check out NZ On Screen’s collection of Labour Day related titles.

Labour Day commemorates the struggle for an eight-hour working day. In 1840, carpenter Samuel Parnell won a world-leading eight-hour day for workers in the Wellington settlement: “It must be on these terms or none at all!”

The collection includes the John Bates documentary 1951 (about the 1951 waterside workers strike), which won Best Documentary and Best Director at the 2002 NZ Television Awards.

1997 TV Awards winner Revolution is also included. Produced by Marcia Russell, this four part series about the sweeping economic and social changes of the 1980s is available in full.

Campaigning filmmaker Alister Barry’s two highly-acclaimed political documentaries Someone Else’s Country (The Dominion: "alarmingly enlighening") and In a Land of Plenty offer critical perspectives on the same era.

In the famous 1970 Gallery episode Brian Edwards resolves a long-running Post Office industrial dispute live on air.

The collection also shows classic National Film Unit titles - To Live in the City (1967), Railway Worker (1948), The Coaster (1950) and Coal From Westland (1943). To Live in the City follows four young Māori - Ripeka, Moana, Grace and Phillip - as they transition from school, whānau and rural life to the city.

Railway Worker covers 24 hours of work on the railways and was made by New Zealand’s first female director, Margaret Thomson. The Coaster was written by the poet Denis Glover and narrated by Selwyn Toogood and became famous as the film which led to Cecil Holmes losing his job, after its content riled unionist Fintan Patrick Walsh.

NZ On Screen is the NZ On Air-funded website set up last year to showcase New Zealand television and film. You can see the Labour Day Collection, and over 700 other titles, free of charge at

No comments: