Views of NZ a cut above

New Zealand From Above is a televisual extravaganza of looking down on things - a tour de force, if you will, of aerial photography.

It is the Wright brothers meet Amelia Earhart meets Richard Pearse.

It is This is New Zealand - that fabulous documentary film showcasing New Zealand scenery produced by the New Zealand National Film Unit for the World Expo in Osaka in 1970 - meets a night at my Aunty Ruth's in 1973 watching holiday slides beamed on to the wallpaper from a projector.

It is all that and it is an international conundrum.

To the untrained eye, New Zealand From Above is a stunning view of our beautiful country only seen on a regular basis by those who live in space or fly often in helicopters and aeroplanes.

The aerial journey of New Zealand that starts in the deep southwest of the country swoops over, then lands on Prime TV on Monday at 8.30pm.

The film-makers, equipped with some high-end technology and the help of some chums, including well-known southern helicopter bloke Richard ''Hannibal'' Hayes, discover the glory of New Zealand - from above.

Five episodes take viewers from the deep south of the South Island to the northern tip of the North Island. On the way they meet ... New Zealanders.

God knows why anyone would want to, but there you have it.

But who are these people looking down upon us from on high?

Who controls the brain that moves the eyes that look through the lens that flashes images on to the tape of the camera that views us from above?

What is this surveillance?

There are two possibilities.

New Zealand From Above credits the Australian Capital Territory government and ScreenAct - the film office of the ACT government.

Then it credits Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion - a company I tracked down to an address in Heinrich-Roller-Strasse, near Otto Braun Strasse, not far from the Leonardo Royal Hotel, in Berlin.

Interesting.

The Australians have always looked down on New Zealand.

And what better way to spy on us than by becoming involved in a production like New Zealand From Above?

The European input I can only put down to a conspiracy of such proportions the mind boggles.

Fortunately, the shadowy figures who put together New Zealand From Above have left a stunning record of the beauties of New Zealand (from above).

Episode one slides over mountain tops, past glaciers and volcanoes and fjords and lakes.

Things only get better in episode two, when we fly from Mt Cook to the Southern Lakes to Port Chalmers and then - and then - all the way to Dunedin.

Oh the joy of looking down on New Zealand - from above.

- Charles Loughrey

Add a Comment