International Documentary Series

With breathtaking cinematography and powerful narration, highly-acclaimed documentary series FIRST AUSTRALIANS recounts the events of first contact between Australia’s Aboriginal people and white settlers.
The amazing seven-part series will premiere on Maori Television on Tuesday April 6 at 8:30 PM, in the channel’s international documentary slot.
The programme depicts in striking detail the true accounts of both the colonisers and the colonised. The stories chronicle the collision of two very different cultures.
FIRST AUSTRALIANS begins in 1788 with the story of Bennelong, a young aboriginal warrior who befriends British envoy Arthur Philip.  The relationship becomes strained after violence breaks out between settlers and the natives, and the bloodshed worsens as settlers spread out across Australia, and scores of Aboriginal clans are alienated from their traditional homelands and practices.
There are emotional first-hand stories of the Australian government’s ‘unhealthy experiments’, which involved the removal of half-caste children from Aboriginal parents, and ‘protective legislation’ which incarcerated Aboriginal people to outback reserves.
The series also covers the landmark Mabo court case in 1992, which challenged the foundation of Australia as a terra nullius: a land belonging to noone at the time of white settlement.
Produced by indigenous filmmakers Rachel Perkins and Darren Dale, FIRST AUSTRALIANS broke new ground when it first screened in Australia on multiethnic broadcaster SBS in 2008.  Never before had a major documentary series about white settlement and the history of indigenous Australians, been told on network television.
Perkins says the series was made in the hope the public would get “a taste of the story that remains to be understood”, and to spark a national interest in “the people on whose lands we have made our homes.”
In 2009 FIRST AUSTRALIANS won a Logie Award for Outstanding Documentary Series, an Australian Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Direction for a Television Documentary, and the Australian Writers’ Guild Award for Outstanding Writing in a Documentary.
Complementing the strength of the documentary writing is the visually spectacular cinematography, which casts the red continent perfectly as the backdrop to the problems faced by its traditional owners.  FIRST AUSTRALIANS director of photography Warwick Thornton was also responsible for the directing on recent Australian feature film Samson and Delilah.
Maori Television’s General Manager of Programming Haunui Royal says FIRST AUSTRALIANS is a monumental effort in both storytelling and factual filmmaking.  “Maori Television is pleased to be able to share these courageous and beautifully shot stories of Australia’s recent indigenous history.  “New Zealanders of all cultures should take the opportunity to see this moving documentary series about the oldest race in the world, and our closest neighbours.”            

Educational, powerful and emotional, FIRST AUSTRALIANS is not to be missed as it screens in Maori Television’s international documentary slot on Tuesday April 6 at 8.30 PM.


LIVING CHANNEL – Tuesday 8 September, 8.30pm

Imagine living in fear of going to sleep – when sleep becomes a stressful experience instead of an opportunity to recharge your batteries. Sleepwalking is a legitimate medical condition and is more common, diverse and dangerous than ever imagined. Those afflicted have been known to engage in complex behaviours such as cooking, driving a car and even murder. This fascinating documentary observes the sleepwalkers in action and delves into the cutting-edge science and state-of-art technology that has revolutionised sleep medicine. Featuring dramatic re-enactments of sinister sleepwalking murder cases, to following a sleepwalker’s progress from diagnosis to recovery, the harsh realities of sleepwalking are brought to light.

Monday January 19 at 10.00 PM

Part one of a three-part series.  Leading scientists, politicians, industrialists and experts around the world examine every aspect of the energy industry, and the basic raw materials that make it tick – coal, gas and oil.