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Wednesday 08 April 2009

More LGBT stories join online TV archive

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News, True Stories
By Daily News Staff - 10th December 2008

The first two episodes of Maori TV's LGBT programme Takataapui, a short drama featuring Georgina Beyer, and excerpts from documentaries about some well-known gay Kiwis have all been added to New Zealand's online television archive NZ On Screen.

Archived & on demand: Takataapui's Taurewa Biddle

Takataapui was the world's first indigenous gay, lesbian and transgender magazine-styled current affairs series. Presented by transgender singer Ramon Te Wake, Taurewa Biddle – with his distinctive facial moko – and Tania Simon, it was light-entertainment but not afraid to delve into some hard-hitting issues affecting the takatāpui communities all over New Zealand. The first-ever two episodes from 2004 are available to view, along with the 2005 Christmas special.

Farr From Heaven is a documentary made for TVNZ, which follows gay musician Gareth Farr composing and rehearsing a variety of music productions. Written and directed by Roz Mason and narrated by Farr, the documentary shows the versatility of Farr's work as a classical composer and performer – including as transvestite Lilith. The full range of his creative process is captured - from arrangement failures to world premieres.

Short drama Jewel's Darl concentrates on the fine details of the relationship between Mandy – a man who dresses as a woman – and Jewel – a transsexual, played by Georgina Beyer. They bond over tea and biscuits in bed, Jewel's belief in staying strong against other people's mockery, and Mandy's memories of a troubled childhood. The ground-breaking 1985 drama was inspired by Anne Kennedy's first published short story, winner of the 1983 Katherine Mansfield award.

Lew Pryme's life was a wild ride that took in everything from rock and roll to rugby before it was cut short by AIDS in 1990. He was discovered in the small Taranaki town of Waitara in the sixties and became one of the most popular hip-swinging music stars of the time. He later became the first executive director of Auckland Rugby Union. Lew Pryme – Welcome To My World tells his story.

Haunting Douglas is a profoundly moving 2003 documentary portrait of out gay dancer and choreographer Douglas Wright weaving new encounters with footage of past theatrical performances and extracts from his autobiography. "I need to make things to feel that I can cope with whatever reality is. For me, dancing, performing for people, is the ultimate mystery and the ultimate joy," explians Wright. From drug addiction and illness, to determination and triumph on the New York stage with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, director Leanne Pooley's skilful documentary captures the artist's resilience.

These newly-added programmes join TV3's 1998 Hero Parade coverage, a Topp Twins show, a Hudson & Halls episode and excerpts from a documentary about Georgina Beyer already in the website when it launched in October.

NZ On Screen (linked below) is funded by NZ On Air, and aims to "unlock the treasure chest" of New Zealand's television history. The website will remain as a free, 'on demand' service. Daily News Staff - 10th December 2008