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nz on screen

The Guv’ner


A couple of years ago, while I was run­ning the bar at Downstage, I was lucky enough to share a couple of con­ver­sa­tions with act­ing legend (and Laureate) George Henare who was play­ing Dracula at the time. He told us some tales of shoot­ing the New Zealand his­tor­ic­al epic “The Governor” back in the late 70s and I asked him why it was so dif­fi­cult to actu­ally see. He told me that the act­ors’ con­tracts stated that any fur­ther screen­ings meant that they got to be paid again – at the fairly extraordin­ary rate of 100%. I asked him wheth­er he felt sad that so many New Zealanders would­n’t be able to see such an import­ant piece of work – not just the colo­ni­al his­tory but the tele­vi­sion his­tory. “No,” said George, “You want to do some­thing with it, pay me. That was the deal.”

And fair enough, too. Actors have been doing it tough in NZ for years and nowadays they don’t even get prop­er resid­uals or have to threaten to quit so that they don’t become ring tones without per­mis­sion.

But ima­gine my sur­prise when @publicaddress announced that the long lost first epis­ode of “The Governor” was avail­able to watch online at NZ On Screen. Which is awe­some. I just hope that someone remembered George.