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Hyundai Country Calendar


Episode 16: Good Old Days

Country Calendar revisits Neroli Prouting - crew from left, Hammond Peek, Frank Torley,  Barrington West. Photo by Tony Benny.

A Country Calendar crew in action - from left, cameraman Barrington West, Hammond Peek and Frank Torley. Photo by Tony Benny.

Country Calendar revisits Neroli Prouting - crew from left, Hammond Peek, Barrington West, Frank Torley. Photo by Tony Benny.

Originally screened on 29 May at 7pm on TV ONE.

Watched this episode now at TVNZ Ondemand.

Good Old Days

Mid-2010 marks 50 years since New Zealand's first scheduled TV broadcast - and who better to celebrate the event than Country Calendar?

We're New Zealand's longest-running locally-made programme, now in its 45th year, and this week's episode looks back on Country Calendar's own contribution to television over that time.

The special episode shows some of the programme's great moments over the years - high country musters, bold new rural enterprises and, of course, the famous spoofs featuring Fred Dagg.

The programme also shows an excerpt from the first Country Calendar, broadcast in black and white on March 6, 1966, and goes back to visit the subjects - the Hinton family, who still run the same orchard in Central Otago.

The episode follows up on others who've featured in the past, such as Canterbury's Roger Beattie, who has the rare distinction of appearing on Country Calendar three times - seeding paua on the Chatham Islands in 1990, growing blue pearls near Akaroa in 2001 and breeding weka for the dinner-table in 2008.

When the programme filmed Neroli Prouting in 1993, she was in her early twenties and managing a high country station.  On a recent follow-up visit, the crew found she still lived on a farm and she'd married the boyfriend who appeared in the first programme.

Stephan McGrath was the ultimate self-sufficient life-styler when Country Calendar visited him in 1995.  He shunned modern conveniences on his small farm near Murchison on the West Coast no phone, no power, no tractor.  Instead, he used horse power, literally.

On a follow-up visit, the crew found Steve - a tall man with a flowing beard - looked completely unchanged, but behind his uncompromising exterior he's mellowed a little.  He still avoids engines and electrical appliances, but happily ventures out to use the phone and the internet. 

Looking back on more than 40 years of rural life, the programme reminds the viewer that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

More info

- Cheers To 50 Years - TVNZ celebrates 50 years of New Zealand television.
- Rural yarns turn into longest running TV show