How The Other Half Lives

How The Other Half Lives follows Marc Ellis around New Zealand as he steps in to the shoes of people who have chosen to live a lifestyle outside the mainstream (tonight at 9.30pm on TV ONE).

From Friday-night chanting with Hare Krishnas, to hunting with East Coast bushmen, from playing cricket with Indians, to a visit to the remote Chatham Islands, Ellis discovers some of the diverse communities that make up New Zealand, busting a few stereotypes along the way.

“The series is a bit of a celebration really,” says Ellis, a former All Black who has become a familiar face on New Zealand television. “There are a lot of people out there who have smiles on their faces because they’ve chosen to do things slightly different.”

He adds: “To be honest, the series was a real eye-opener. I knew very little [of some of these groups], aside a few basic stereotypes, so it was a great time to spend a few days with people getting to know a little bit about the way they see and do things, and what lights their candle.”

Marc reckons a growing number of mainstream Kiwis are looking for something beyond a 9am-5pm existence. For example, he says, “There is something peaceful and assured about the way the Hare Krishnas carry themselves, almost an understanding as to their place. I mean, there has to be something to it they practice abstinence, say no to red meat and beer, and still have a grin from ear to ear.”

Tonight, Marc brings his preconceived ideas about “hippies” to Nelson’s Riverside Community and gets familiar with communal living. Marc milks the community’s cows, recites poetry for a women’s peace day, gathers food from the garden and dances around the bonfire.

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