Decade in review: The 100 NZ TV moments of the decade (60-41)

At 2pm every day this week, The Spinoff will be counting down 100 local television moments of the decade. Today, moments 60-41. 

Previously: 

The 100 NZ TV moments of the decade, #100 – #81
The 100 NZ TV moments of the decade, #80 – #61

60) John Oliver is obsessed with us, 2015-2019

“How to explain the ongoing fixation with New Zealand? We are quaintly amusing and you can make some very good jokes about hobbits and sheep, there’s that of course. But perhaps, too, it’s good business when social media and low-rent websites like the one you’re reading now hyperventilate,” wrote Toby Manhire earlier this year. “John Oliver may be fixated on New Zealand, but not as fixated as we are fixated on his fixation on us.” / Alex Casey

59) Sam Wallace shows us rude, 2017 

Ah, the legendary nimbostratus dickolotus cloud formation, not seen on Breakfast since the summer of 2017. / Tara Ward

58) Rachel Hunter gets an enema on national television, 2015 

The delightful Rachel Hunter’s Tour of Beauty saw Our Lady of the Chocolate Trumpet put her arse on the line, time and time again, as she selflessly travelled around the globe testing out batshit ideas about beauty and wellness. She had her butt electrocuted in New York, smacked with a stick in South Korea, and even filmed herself having an enema in India, because she’s that good to us. A national treasure, no ifs or butts about it. / TW

57) Ali Mau vs the women’s mags on Breakfast, 2010

It was barely a month into the decade when Ali Mau decided to, quite rightly, call out women’s magazines for what is, quite plainly, harassment. Watching it now, it’s a thrilling and quite chilling piece of television – Mau’s frustration is clear and entirely understandable, and ended with this iconic question: “When is this kind of thing going to stop? Just give me an idea maybe, when the dogs are going to be called off and me and my friends and my family can go about our business without having a creepy guy in a Corolla station wagon following us around.” / Sam Brooks

56) Chris Warner sings Anchor Me, 2014

The sun was setting on another year of Shortland Street and Chris Warner had a song in his heart. Legend has it that even now, when the wind blows soft and the sun sinks low, you can still hear the strummy-strum-strum of Dr Love’s guitar as he warbles his way to festive happiness. Iconic song, iconic golden love beast, and a Shortland Street finale we’ll never see the likes of again. / TW

55) Jamie Curry comes out on Youtube, 2018

“Curry doesn’t necessarily fit the model of the standard female YouTube star, often a glamorous beauty or lifestyle vlogger,” wrote Lydia Burgham for The Spinoff in 2018. “Instead, Curry gained a platform by celebrating her point of difference: her awkwardness and relatability to the average New Zealand teenage girl.” After disappearing from her enormous social platform for years, Curry returned in 2018 with this video that went viral and felt like a Moment for our young community of online megastars. / AC

54) Guy Williams meets the chook shop boys, 2018

This was one of the first big viral hits for the NZ Today segment on Jono and Ben, paving the way for the excellent standalone comedy series that would come to Three the following year. So many good moments, so much powerful Ed Sheeran singing, so many heritage buildings that really do “take you back.” / AC

53) Ben Mitchell and Cam Jones get buzzy, 2014

For reasons that are now lost to time and David Farrier’s inbox, South Pacific Pictures decided to grant the intrepid weird journalist an interview with Ben Mitchell and Cam Jones for The Spinoff. Rather than your average puff piece, Farrier decided to ask the pair about a few of their life philosophies and choices. What emerged from Ben Mitchell’s mouth was an unscripted ramble that ranged into alpha-men and beta-men, a musing on what women want that was horrible at the time and is now probably a fireable offence, and the eternal question: “The pyramids – how the f did they get there? Who put them there?” / SB

52) Duncan Garner smokes synnies, 2013

After he was the aggro political editor for 3 News, and before he became the aggro host of The AM Show, Duncan Garner had a brief and very gonzo period as an afternoon radio host. During the height of the moral panic over synthetic cannabis, he took it upon himself to blaze up on some synnies. Not long afterwards they were made illegal, potentially to stop Garner ever doing it again. / DG

51) He’s still , he’s still James Reid from The Block, 2019

“For some reason, he headed straight to the giant pot of chilli beans to have a good long geeze inside. A true invader. Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show-stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before. Fishing for Lisa? She’s not in there mate!” Talk about a pressure, man. / AC

50) The Career Girls sketch on Funny Girls, 2016

Funny Girls was an absolute revelation. Fierce, smart, funny, feminist and completely unafraid to tackle gnarly societal issues in a Friday night sketch show format. When I think about Funny Girls, I think of the searing musical ditty about not getting mugged, murdered or raped while walking home, or the surreal tampon shopping, or getting fed up with sexual violence in our favourite fantasy shows. The show was completely world class, and I don’t think a moment proves that more than the fact that a Comedy Central show in the States aired a parody board game ad that seemed eerily similar to one made by the Funny Girls team. Whether a brazen copycat or just weird coincidence, I think it proves they were doing something very, very right. / AC

49) John Campbell’s weird first day on Breakfast, 2019

Campbell started the decade as one of our most beloved newsreaders and television journalists, and ends it as the goofy uncle of morning television. His first day on Breakfast showed us a guy who maybe, just maybe, wanted to have a bit of fun and a bit of a break with his new gig. And honestly, if you have to wake up that early, you should be allowed to do whatever the hell you like on TV. / SB 

48) Mihingarangi Forbes vs. Lisa Prager on The Hui, 2019

There’s a cruel joy in seeing someone be hoisted by their own petard, or in this case, their own cowboy hat. Lisa Prager’s bizarre, ahistorical claim to Ōwairaka was gently but firmly taken to task by Mihirangi Forbes over the space of a ten minute interview, intercut with the head of Tūpuna Maunga Authority, Paul Majurey, explaining exactly why Prager was 100% wrong. It’s less cruel when the petard-hoisting is this warranted, honestly. / SB

47) The GC causes problems for NZ on Air, 2012

One of the chief tensions for state broadcasting funder NZ on Air is having to be the arbiter of taste. This particularly acute around reality television, a format it sometimes can stomach (Grand Designs), but mostly leaves to the market to provide. The GC slipped through, thanks to its pitch as portraying the lives of Māori living on the Gold Coast. Which it did do! And with more nuance than it got credit for. But it’s remembered for the bangin’ bods and hookup culture, and the way it infuriated a certain type of prim and proper New Zealander. / Duncan Greive

46) Uncle Barry does his worst, 2018

One of low-key funniest moments to ever come out of family television. “Uncle Baz hoists the young, senseless, Alex onto his shoulders, growing to about three metres tall. ‘That’s a new technique,’ says Si nervously, throwing a glance at the very low inflatable doorway to the maze. Within seconds, it’s clear that the Si-man was right to be concerned. Uncle Barry charges through the entrance, immediately nailing poor defenceless Alex in the noggin. He gets knocked down, but he pops up again, no inflatable doorway going to keep him down.” / AC

45) Good night to Good Morning, 2015

It made a star out of Mary Lambie’s cat and kept everyone’s Nan company during the day, but after 19 glorious, advertorial filled years, the sun finally set on daytime TV icon Good Morning. As craft queen Astar danced her final dance, tears began to flow and our hearts broke like they were a smashed egg under a non-Bambillo pillow. / TW

44) Colin Craig ends his career in a sauna, 2015

In many ways, it’s extraordinary that Colin Craig’s political career lasted as long as did, given what we learned of his deeply unpleasant character during the long, litigious aftermath. His pursuit of former press secretary Rachel McGregor through the courts was truly awful, but it’s easy to forget that his downfall started with this surreal and ill-judged interview with David Farrier in a sauna on the short-lived, sometimes-brilliant Newsworthy. / DG

43) Anne the Champagne Lady laugh, 2017

Ah ha ha ha.  / AC

42) Key’s three way handshake, 2011

An instant meme, an icebreaker, a groundbreaker. Made me feel much better about the time I met my friend’s new boyfriend and he went in for a hug and I went in for a handshake and then I panicked, gently punched his stomach and kissed his earlobe. Prime ministers! They’re just like us. / AC

41) Neighbours at War signs off for the last time, 2015

We like to think Country Calendar captures our essence as a nation: stoic country folk, grappling with the land. Yet the boundary disputes and fury of Neighbours at War is indisputably the more accurate representation. “It provides a snapshot of life in New Zealand that most people would not otherwise see,” says show director Lee Baker. “It’s a snapshot that would not normally be considered fit for television.” It says a lot that repeats, five years on, are amongst the most popular shows in NZ. / DG


Fresh and vibrant with a lingering finish, Lindauer Free* is a great choice for those that are looking to moderate their alcohol content as they celebrate the end of the decade and the start of the next but don’t want to sacrifice on flavour or fun.

*Contains no more than 0.5% alc/vol


The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.