Maori Television is paying tribute to world famous Maori funny man Billy T James with a one-off special highlighting some of his best sketches.

With Billy T – Te Movie opening in cinemas on Thursday 18 August, we have selected some of Billy T James’ most renowned sketches to showcase in a one-off Billy T Special screening on Friday 2 September at 8pm.

In 1987, Billy T set up his own company to produce his television series, which contained some of his classic and best loved sketches.

The Billy T Special is the pick of those sketches, re-edited by Maori Television in collaboration with Tom Parkinson, who also produced Billy T – Te Movie. Join Maori Television for a hilarious 60 minutes that not only shows some of the best of Billy T but is a fitting tribute to the late great comedian.

Tune into Maori Television on Friday 2 September at 8pm for a hatakehi night with our Billy T Special.

Hatakehi Maori… Billy T Special on Maori Television, Friday 2 September at 8-9PM.

Widely praised for his efforts in raising awareness of depression, former All Black John Kirwan shares his experience of the illness.

The All Black legend and unofficial patron of The Nutters Club features in a one-hour special on Friday 2 September at 10.30pm.

In the one-hour episode, he talks to host Mike King and psychiatrist Dr David Codyre about his writing, understanding and living with depression and how wellness is something we need to work at every day.

“Help, great word. I reached out for help and what it did was amazing. It took a while; some understanding, some personal discovery and some pain,” says Kirwan.

Kirwan played 96 games for the All Blacks and was part of the 1987 team that won the Rugby World Cup title on home soil. This year he returns to the Rugby World Cup, but not as a player – as coach for Japan.

Check out another side of a rugby legend as Kirwan shares his story with Mike King on The Nutters Club next month, Friday 2 September at 10.30pm.

Rugby legend John Kirwan talks about living with depression on The Nutters Club, Friday 2 September at 10.30pm.

Weta Workshop has had a hand in the upcoming TV One drama Tangiwai, constructing the scale replica train to recreate the 1953 disaster.

Weta founder Sir Richard Taylor oversaw the construction of the one-sixth scale replica locomotive with 11 carriages, which was fitted out with lights, blinds and dolls.

It will be used for the scene where the train with 285 people on board plunges into the river after a rail bridge was knocked out by a volcanic lahar.

The budget for the scene, shot last December in Makara near Wellington, was relatively small in Weta terms at only $3m.

Flying bugs proved a hindrance to the filming of the scene, due to the size at which they would show up on lenses used to make the train appear life-size.

The film centres on the story of former NZ cricketer Bob Blair and his fiancée Nerissa Love, who perished in the accident while Blair was away in South Africa on duty. 

Tangiwai: A Love Story will screen on TV One this Sunday.

Source: Stuff

Maori Television has a great range of New Zealand documentaries in our all new Pakipumeka Aotearoa series playing in the lead up to our free-to-air Rugby World Cup 2011 coverage.

The one-hour documentaries are playing on Saturday nights at 8.30-9.30pm.

This weekend is Henare O’Keefe: Te Tuatangata which tells the story of a local hero determined to bring hope back to the people of Flaxmere, Hastings – one of New Zealand’s most socially deprived suburbs, notorious for gang activity.

For those born in this Hawke’s Bay suburb, hope can be hard to come by but Henare O’Keefe is bringing hope back to the community even after his own family fell victim to the suburb’s violent crime.

Henare O’Keefe: Te Tuatangata is an uplifting, intimate and emotionally charged portrait of a man whose unshakable belief in the power of love affected positive change; an average New Zealander who, through an incredible act of forgiveness, turned an entire community into heroes.

Next week, Saturday 20 August, meet New Zealand’s own version of Erin Brockovich in The Green Chain. Whakatane man Joe Harawira fought the powers of industry and government and won.

The former sawmill worker believes his exposure to poison in the workplace led to him becoming seriously ill, so he fought to seek the truth behind the death and sickness that afflicted his community. The Green Chain tells his story.

On Saturday 27 August check out a new movement coming out of Hawke’s Bay that is encouraging Maori people to get fit and healthy in IronMaori: Movement of the People.

The first IronMaori half-ironman was born in December 2009 with 288 competitors after event founder Heather Skipworth, a health professional from Pakipaki – the rural predominantly Maori settlement south of Hastings – had an epiphany to do something to reverse the negative health statistics prevailing in the Maori community.

She viewed a half-ironman (2km swim, 90km cycle and 21.1km run) as a challenge that would force a significant lifestyle change that could be continued – “one that would lengthen the time to get to your grave”, she says.

Finally, one week out from Rugby World Cup 2011 kick off, we explore the history of New Zealand rugby culture and the world cup and its affect on our psyche in The Wait of the Nation on Saturday 3 September.

The Wait of the Nation tells the story of the All Black’s inaugural world cup triumph on home soil in 1987, where the Men In Black helped heal the wounds of the disastrous Springbok Tour of 1981 and reunite Kiwis behind their national game.

As the tournament returns to New Zealand this year, only one thing matters: winning that elusive World Cup. For this rugby-mad nation, it’s a question of national pride.

So sit back and relax whanau and look in with Maori Television for these essential Saturday night viewing of some great home-grown documentaries.



Henare O’Keefe: Te Tua Tangata – Saturday 13 August at 8.30pm

The Green Chain – Saturday 20 August at 8.30pm

IronMaori: Movement of the People – Saturday 27 August at 8.30pm

The Wait of the Nation – Saturday 3 September at 8.30pm


Most watched

  1. One News: 678,380 (TV ONE, 6:00pm – 7:00pm)
  2. Big Fat Gypsy Weddings: 541,580 (TV ONE, 8:30pm – 9:35pm)
  3. Shortland Street: 535,910 (TV2, 7:00pm – 7:30pm)
  4. Police Ten 7: 485,040 (TV2, 7:30pm – 8:00pm)
  5. Close Up: 474,090 (TV ONE, 7:00pm – 7:30pm)

Most watched evening (7.30pm – 11pm)

  1. Big Fat Gypsy Weddings: 541,580 (TV ONE, 8:30pm – 9:35pm)
  2. Police Ten 7: 485,040 (TV2, 7:30pm – 8:00pm)
  3. Coronation Street: 456,040 (TV ONE, 7:30pm – 8:30pm)
  4. Random Breath Testing: 442,450 (TV2, 8:00pm – 8:30pm)
  5. Motorway Cops: 306,140 (TV ONE, 9:35pm – 10:50pm)

Most watched daytime (9am – 5pm)

  1. ONE News Midday: 131,240 (TV ONE, 12:00pm – 12:30pm)
  2. Emmerdale: 115,630 (TV ONE, 12:30pm – 1:30pm)
  3. Dickinson’s Real Deal: 106,230 (TV ONE, 2:00pm – 3:00pm)
  4. The Erin Simpson Show: 105,380 (TV2, 4:30pm – 5:00pm)
  5. The Erin Simpson Show: 99,280 (TV2, 4:00pm – 4:05pm)

Most watched on TV ONE

  1. One News: 678,380 (6:00pm – 7:00pm)
  2. Big Fat Gypsy Weddings: 541,580 (8:30pm – 9:35pm)
  3. Close Up: 474,090 (7:00pm – 7:30pm)
  4. Coronation Street: 456,040 (7:30pm – 8:30pm)
  5. Motorway Cops: 306,140 (9:35pm – 10:50pm)

Most watched on TV2

  1. Shortland Street: 535,910 (7:00pm – 7:30pm)
  2. Police Ten 7: 485,040 (7:30pm – 8:00pm)
  3. Random Breath Testing: 442,450 (8:00pm – 8:30pm)
  4. 20/20: 243,510 (9:30pm – 10:35pm)
  5. Chuck: 189,070 (8:30pm – 9:30pm)

Most watched on TV3

  1. 3 News: 330,460 (6:00pm – 7:00pm)
  2. Campbell Live: 206,230 (7:00pm – 7:30pm)
  3. Home and Away: 193,920 (5:30pm – 6:00pm)
  4. Couples Retreat: 189,690 (8:30pm – 10:50pm)
  5. Extreme Makeover Weight Loss: 159,920 (7:30pm – 8:30pm)

Most watched on FOUR

  1. The Simpsons: 116,340 (7:00pm – 7:30pm)
  2. Family Guy: 95,050 (7:30pm – 8:00pm)
  3. That ’70s Show: 86,620 (6:30pm – 7:00pm)
  4. American Dad: 75,050 (8:00pm – 8:30pm)
  5. Futurama: 68,230 (8:30pm – 9:00pm)

Most watched on PRIME

  1. Prime Evening News: 201,870 (5:30pm – 6:00pm)
  2. Deal or No Deal: 103,810 (6:00pm – 6:30pm)
  3. Deal or No Deal: 100,590 (5:00pm – 5:30pm)
  4. Strike Back: 78,360 (8:35pm – 9:35pm)
  5. Millionaire Hot Seat: 70,240 (7:00pm – 7:30pm)

The Crowd Goes Wild: 51,720 (6:30pm – 7:00pm)

Most watched on Maori TV

  1. Hunting Aotearoa: 59,960 (9:30pm – 10:00pm)
  2. Hyundai Code: 29,990 (8:30pm – 9:30pm)

Most watched on the BOX

  1. Law & Order Criminal Intent: 52,370 (9:30pm – 10:30pm)
  2. NCIS: 32,830 (7:30pm – 8:30pm)
  3. Law & Order Criminal Intent: 28,060 (8:30pm – 9:30pm)

Most watched on SKY Sport 1

  1. ITM Cup Rugby: 97,770 (7:30pm – 9:25pm)

Head to head

  • Breakfast (6:30am – 6:55am): 90,040
  • Breakfast (7:00am – 7:55am): 155,330
  • Breakfast (8:00am – 9:00am): 126,130
  • 3 News Firstline (6:00am – 6:30am): 28,900
  • 3 News Firstline (6:30am – 7:00am): 48,020
  • 3 News Firstline (7:00am – 8:00am): 61,610
  • 3 News Firstline (8:00am – 8:30am): 46,830
  • AMP Business (6:00am – 6:30am): 38,240
  • ONE News Midday (12:00pm – 12:30pm): 131,240
  • 3 News at 12: No information available.
  • One News (6:00pm – 7:00pm): 678,380
  • 3 News (6:00pm – 7:00pm): 330,460
  • Close Up (7:00pm – 7:30pm): 474,090
  • Campbell Live (7:00pm – 7:30pm): 206,230
  • Tonight (10:50pm – 11:20pm): 223,640
  • Nightline (10:50pm – 11:25pm): 109,480

Biggest increases (previous week)

  1. Big Fat Gypsy Weddings: TV ONE 541580 – up from 463790 (8:30pm – 9:35pm)
  2. Prime Evening News: PRIME 201870 – up from 157100 (5:30pm – 6:00pm)
  3. Shortland Street: TV2 535910 – up from 494260 (7:00pm – 7:30pm)
  4. Everybody Loves Raymond: TV3 83370 – up from 43680 (5:00pm – 5:30pm)
  5. Deal or No Deal: PRIME 103810 – up from 64650 (6:00pm – 6:30pm)

Biggest decreases (previous week)

  1. Random Breath Testing: TV2 442450 – down from 519120 (8:00pm – 8:30pm)
  2. Coronation Street: TV ONE 456040 – down from 519330 (7:30pm – 8:30pm)
  3. One News: TV ONE 678380 – down from 734550 (6:00pm – 7:00pm)
  4. Chuck: TV2 189070 – down from 244540 (8:30pm – 9:30pm)
  5. 20/20: TV2 243510 – down from 298790 (9:30pm – 10:35pm)


  1. Couples Retreat: TV3 (8:30pm – 10:50pm)
  2. Strike Back: PRIME (8:35pm – 9:35pm)
  3. Motorway Cops: TV ONE (9:35pm – 10:50pm)

Channel Share (All Day)

  • TV ONE: 29.9%
  • SKY Network: 25.8%
  • TV2: 16.3%
  • TV3: 13.2%
  • PRIME: 4.8%
  • FOUR: 4.5%
  • Other TV Channels: 4.1%
  • Maori TV: 0.8%

Source: Nielsen Television Audience Measurement, All 5+

Eric Young’s cheeky dig at a colleague has become the latest newsreader blooper to hit Youtube.

The Prime News presenter gave a two-fingered salute to someone off-camera after he completed a voice-over on the results of ITM Cup rugby fixtures.

The gesture was intended to be made while highlights of the game were still playing but the camera cut back to him sooner than he was expecting.

True Blood renewed for fifth season

True Blood has been officially renewed for a fifth season by HBO. “I am thrilled that ‘True Blood’ continues to enjoy a phenomenal reception from both subscribers and critics,” Michael Lombardo, HBO president, said.

MacFarlane to host Sheen Roast

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has been confirmed as the host for the upcoming Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen. It will be the third Roast gig for MacFarlane, who last hosted the Donald Trump special.

Bruckheimer developing drama series

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer is developing a new drama series for CBS in the US that will focus on a mother who becomes a New York State Trooper. The drama is being written by former Heroes writer Aron Eli Coleite.

Bacon linked to comedy series

Kevin Bacon has been linked to a new comedy project called Valentine that centres on the life of a talk radio host. Bacon is already developing another comedy series with HBO.

Scrubs actress signs devlopment deal

Former Scrubs actress Sarah Chalke has signed a new development deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The contract means a new half-hour comedy project will be built around the actress.

SKY ARENA brings you exclusive LIVE coverage of WWE’s SummerSlam at The Biggest Event of the Summer in Los Angeles.

John Cena and the returning CM Punk have each earned the right to call themselves the WWE Champion and the pair will clash on Monday to determine who will become the first ever undisputed bearer of the WWE title. WWE’s Triple H will officiate the fight.

World Heavyweight Champion Christian will face No. 1 contender Randy Orton in an epic showdown No Holds Barred Match for the World Title.

Also colliding on Monday at SummerSlam, Sheamus and Mark Henry, while Beth Phoenix will challenge Divas Champion Kelly Kelly for the Divas Championship.

WWE: Live coverage of WWE’s SummerSlam is available to all SKY domestic Subscribers for $19.95 and will air LIVE on SKY ARENA (Sky Channel 038) Monday August 15 from 12pm, with a free for all Preview Show at 11.30am repeating that evening at 8.30pm with the free for all Preview Show replaying at 8pm.

Don’t miss out.  To book now visit or call 0800 759 777.

Following their defence of the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday night, All Blacks, Keven Mealamu, Jerome Kaino, together with team-mate Anthony Boric, faced their next challenge, filming scenes for Shortland Street yesterday.

The drama debut for the star players is timed to screen on the popular drama series for September 9, opening night of the Rugby World Cup.

Filmed in West Auckland at South Pacific Pictures, the script sees the team making a stop to the fictional hospital on their way to the first All Black match against Tonga at Eden Park.

“It’s the meeting of some of the most identifiable faces in New Zealand from sport and television,” says Shortland Street producer Steven Zanoski. “The excitement from the cast at having the All Blacks in studio has been fantastic. It was great to see them star-struck.”

Zanoski says the Rugby World Cup couldn’t go unacknowledged by the show, which seeks to replicate real life in New Zealand.

“It’s the most widely anticipated television event of the year, in addition to being of international importance in the sporting world,” says Zanoski. “The Rugby World Cup is likely to see a record number of viewers glued to their screens. It’s Shortland Street’s aim to provide an entertaining nod to the event in the lead up to the game – and show our support of the All Blacks in the Cup.”

So determined is the production to tie-in with the real-life sporting fixture that they will be filming scenes in which characters react to games the day after they have played. Scenes shot the morning after a match will be seamlessly integrated into the on-screen action that very same night.

“It means leaving gaps in the show that will be filled on the day,” explains Zanoski. “It’s nerve-wracking. Everyone must be at the top of their game in terms of continuity and preparedness.”

While a margin for error remains, the production team is confident that they have covered all bases – for now. Zanoski is more concerned what happens when it comes to the final.

“It’s great for the country that it falls on Labour Weekend with Monday being a holiday but it means we aren’t shooting on the day with our next episode screening at night. What happens when New Zealand wins the Cup? Shortland Street has to acknowledge that.”

Anticipating an All Black victory, Zanoski assures that there is a plan to celebrate on the show.

“I’ll be calling in some big favours from cast and crew on the day.”

The Shortland Street/Rugby World Cup tie-in commences with the episode starring Mealamu, Kaino and Boric, screening Friday, September 9.

A new documentary series, Golden Mozzies, looking at seven Māori families living on Australia’s Gold Coast, leads a wide range of New Zealand stories supported by NZ On Air in its latest funding round.

The TV3 series will explore emigration from a Māori perspective and how Tikanga Māori supports them as they adapt to life in a new country.

“NZ On Air’s August funding round is an important one because it helps shape the TV schedules for 2012” said chief executive Jane Wrightson. “More than 75 hours of local stories have been confirmed in this documentary round alone and we hope many different New Zealanders will find programmes to enjoy”, she said.

The 13 NZ On Air documentary investments announced this week include First Crossings, an ambitious five-part series for TV One telling the story of great NZ explorers, from the West Coast to the Chathams, through the exploits of two modern day adventurers.

Operation Hurricane, to screen on Prime, will tell the little-known story of the “splendidly named” New Zealander Gynes Ramsbottom–Isherwood who was awarded the Order of Lenin for his exploits in the Second World War.   

When A City Falls, a feature length project produced and written by Gerard Smyth about life amid the Christchurch quakes and aftermath has also been funded, in partnership with the NZ Film Commission.  It will be shown in cinemas and on TV3.

Current successful programmes haven’t been overlooked in the round with renewed support given to new series of Country Calendar, What’s Really In Our Food, The Politically Incorrect Guide To Grownups, Coasters, Beyond the Darklands, and Missing Pieces.

And more single documentaries and short series will be supported under the contestable banners of both the TV One Docs and and Māori Television’s Pakipumeka strands.