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Māori Television to Screen the Untold Story of Pauly Fuemana

Tuesday August 19, 2014

Māori Television to Screen the Untold Story of Pauly Fuemana

Māori/Niuean singer-songwriter Paul Fuemana shot to fame in 1995 with the song that became New Zealand’s biggest selling record. His story will be told in HOW BIZARRE, screening Monday, August 25 at 9.30pm on Māori Television.

HOW BIZARRE is the second of Māori Television’s new strand of Pakipūmeka New Zealand documentaries and is told through a mix of interviews and archival footage, including footage shot by Pauly himself – on tour, in the studio and at home.

The song How Bizarre redefined the musical landscape of New Zealand and sold more than four million copies worldwide.

It reached number one around the world, including New Zealand, Australia, Germany, South Africa and Canada. In the US the single topped the US Billboard charts with over two million airplays between 1997 and 1998. How Bizarre was in the top 10 in many other countries, including the UK, setting Pauly on the path to fulfilling the promise of the ironically named Otara Millionaires Club (OMC).

HOW BIZARRE starts with Pauly at the height of his fame, appearing twice on the UK music show “Top of the Pops”, sharing the stage with Cher, the Spice Girls, Bryan Adams, Back Street Boys, Sheryl Crow and other ‘90s music icons, and then rewinds to show his rise from the mean streets of Otara to musical stardom.

The documentary explores where the OMC sound came from, including interviews with musical collaborator Alan Jansson, label bosses Andrew Penhallow and Simon Grigg, and Rolling Stone journalist Clinton Walker.

But the heart of the film is in the stories of the people who were closest to Pauly, and who shared his extraordinary and emotional journey from Otara to the heights of international fame and success to the depths of bankruptcy and chronic illness.

HOW BIZARRE also features Pauly’s Mum, Olivia (from whom he was separated at an early age); his wife, Kirstine; and friends, including artist and poet John Pule, rap artist Ermehn, American film star Matthew Modine, and actress Lucy Lawless who collaborated with Pauly on the 2007 hit, “4 All Of Us”.

At times it is emotionally searing as Pauly struggles to deal with the effects of personal losses, bankruptcy and the fading of his international career. But it also reveals Pauly’s enormous talents as a musician, writer and artist. He never stopped producing work, even in his bleakest periods.

HOW BIZARRE, a celebration of the life of Paul Fuemana, will screen on Māori Television next Monday, August 25 at 9.30pm.

DRUG COURT, the next Pakipūmeka New Zealand documentary, will air on Monday, September 1 at 9.30pm, and follows five offenders participating in the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court rehabilitation programme.


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