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).
Han Van Wamel