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Such a Stupid Way to Die

The latest press information from NZ On Screen: 28 January 2009

Such a Stupid Way to Die

Kiwi actors may have a few interesting moments from their past come back to haunt them now that New Zealand has an on-line television archive.

NZ On Screen was launched late last year and the website already has over 300 titles on-line, with new programmes being added every week.

One of this week’s new additions might give veteran Wellington actor Ray Henwood a bit of a start.

Produced by the National Film Unit in 1971, Such a Stupid Way to Die is an educational video made for the National Mountain Safety Council to promote awareness of bush safety. A young bearded Henwood is the presenter of the video.

Originally from Wales, Ray Henwood is a fixture of New Zealand stage and screen. He is perhaps best known on screen for his role in the popular sitcom Gliding On and as the Moro Man in the 1970s advertisements. He is the father of popular comedian and C4 presenter Dai Henwood.

NZ On Screen editor Paul Ward says viewing Such a Stupid Way to Die nearly 40 years after it was made is an interesting experience as the video is definitely “of its time” - mixing together a Beatles-esque soundtrack and horror film style with an educational message.

“After a blackboard science lesson (with Henwood as the earnest white-coated teacher) things get interesting. A fictional trip into the bush turns into a Stubbies-clad 1970s Kiwi version of the Blair Witch Project as we’re told that one of the group will not survive the night, picked off by that fearsome killer – exposure! The message is serious, but the doom-laden tone induced titters in school classrooms and scout halls throught New Zealand.”

An interesting piece of trivia is that Henwood, who has played scientists Ernest Rutherford and Albert Einstein on stage, was a teacher in real life and has an honours degree in chemistry and biochemistry.

Such a Stupid Way to Die was written, directed and edited by Philip McDonald, who later went on to edit the John Laing-directed feature film The Lost Tribe.

NZ On Screen Content Director Irene Gardiner says the website includes New Zealand television and film titles of cultural, artistic and historial significance; as well as popular favourites and nostalgic gems.

“Such a Stupid Way to Die definitely falls into the nostalgia category. It’s a real little curio that will give some former seventies and eighties school kids a very fond memory.

“Some other titles on NZ On Screen that seem to have captured nostalgic attention are the television series Gloss, Spot On, Hudson and Halls, Telethon, McPhail and Gadsby and anything featuring the late Billy T James – they’re some of our most viewed programmes.”

NZ On Screen is fully funded by NZ On Air. All content is free to view at


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