Home Television Drama Pukemanu


1 9 7 1 – 1 9 7 2 (New Zealand)
12 x 60 minute episodes

Pukemanu was the first drama series made in New Zealand.

Resoundingly popular – it was one of the top rating TV programmes in the country in 1971 – the NZBC series was set in a North Island timber town and offered characters that Kiwis could relate to at a time when local accents were rarely heard on TV in New Zealand.

It was the first TV drama to examine the idiosyncrasies of the community-oriented culture of the archetypal New Zealand town – with rugby tournaments, marae meetings, parish bazaars and an annual wood-chop.

The series featured a mix of Māori and Pākehā (white) actors, and viewers and reviewers praised its authenticity and its bicultural approach. A number of episodes included subtitled segments in te reo Māori.

Even though Pukemanu ran for only twelve hour-long episodes in total, its unexpected popularity made it an influential template for later local TV drama series such as Mortimer’s Patch (1980s), Marlin Bay (1990s) and Mercy Peak (2000s).

Phyllis Telford
Pat Evison
Grant McFarland
Charlie Rata
Ernie Leonard
Tama Poata
Dan Harrigan
Tony Barry
Dr Rhyder
Ian Watkin
Geoff Murphy
Mark Gold
Peter Vere-Jones
Jackson Smith
Grant Tilly
Harry Lavington
Myra McKay
Sue Hansen
Rod Booth
Ian Mune
John Halloran
Michael Noonan
Con O’Leary
Mrs Gold
Christine Bartlett
Norm Sullivan
Johnny Johnstone
David Gold
Noel Trevarthen
Pieter Devries
Han Van Wamel
John Paekau
Si Lamb
Bernie Marsh
Henry Bird
Gary Devries
Tim Evison
Mabel Devries
Glenis Levestam
Phillip Mann
Bill Parker
Yasuo Yagyu
Diana Thorpe
Ginette McDonald
Colin Thorpe
Alex Trousdell
May Thorpe
Dorothy Toogood