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Hyundai Country Calendar


Producer's Diary - May

This year we are going behind the scenes of New Zealand's longest running TV show with an exclusive blog from producer Julian O'Brien.


With the end of the golden weather, many people on the land are breathing a sigh of relief that the rain's come at last.  The problem is that the weather may turn cold so quickly that there'll be little or no growth. 

The change in the weather's had its impact on our work, too.  Frank Torley, cameraman Jeff Aldridge and sound recordist John Patrick had to abandon a recent shoot in the Catlins - southerlies and sleet made it impossible to record quality pictures and sound.  They'll return later to try again - and we're confident that the story, about a conventional sheep and beef farmer who's converted to organics, will make it to air later in the season.

Bad weather has so far stymied my attempts to film Akaroa fisherman John Wright carrying out a NIWA survey of fish stocks.  The scientists need clear water for the survey - and the heavy ground-swell from a series of southerlies has stirred the water up.  Again, we won't give up - we'll wait for the weather to come right.

Other recent shoots affected by the change in the weather have included grape-picking in Frank's story about a vineyard in Central Hawkes Bay and a high country muster in Jerome Cvitanovich's story about a Canterbury farming couple.

The change in weather hasn't been limited just to God's Own Country, either.  Tony Benny, working with Jeff and John, encountered some bad conditions during a recent shoot in Uruguay - but they're confident they've come home with a good story about Kiwi investment in South American dairying. 

Whatever the weather throws at us, there's no shortage of post-production to keep the Country Calendar team busy indoors at the Avalon TV Centre.  We've now shot 22 of our 26 stories for the series, and we're heavily involved with a mountain of editing and scripting.