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The Ginette McDonald Collection

Actor. Producer. Director. Comedian. Tv Presenter. You’re Unlikely To Find A Star Of New Zealand Screen And Stage With A More Powerfully Diverse Cv Than Ginette Mcdonald.

NZ On Screen celebrates Ginette’s prolific screen career, both in front of and behind the lens, in The Ginette McDonald Collection. There are more than 60 titles to view, spanning 50 years of screen gems. Written tributes from Michèle A’Court, Michael McDonald, Tom Sainsbury, Judith Fyfe, Paul Horan and Susan Wilson round out the collection.

In his backgrounder for the collection, writer and director Michael McDonald sums up his sister’s contributions to the entertainment industry: “Ginette’s performative life has covered everything from Shakespeare to Chekhov; Albee to Shaw; high tragedy to low comedy; classic drama to experimental theatre. She’s been involved from the outset in ground-breaking New Zealand television — from acting in Pukemanu, the country’s first drama series, to Close to Home, the first soap; plus of course, Lyn of Tawa, our first female comic soloist. She’s also produced and directed award-winning TV dramas and has been awarded the country’s highest performance honours. She’s done it all, brilliantly and memorably.”

Ginette McDonald found public notoriety after the groundbreaking character Lynn of Tawa hit television sets across Aotearoa New Zealand. Good Day – The Judith Fyfe Celebrity Pot Roast Show from 1979 features Lynn’s debut. The popular character, with all her cheek, charm, and Tawa-twang would become a recurring character throughout the 80s and 90s. You’ll find a visual symphony of Lynn-based episodes, commercials and television specials within the collection.

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Alongside comedic performances, there’s a decent dose of drama. The collection includes a selection of Ginette’s acting appearances in episodes of Pukemanu, Close to Home, and Duggan, as well as Dead Certs from the Montana Sunday Theatre series and the award-winning Pioneer Women (where Ginette also directs an episode).

The collection also contains a wealth of material featuring Ginette behind the camera in producer and director roles. Created and produced by Ginette, the effervescent Peppermint Twist follows a group of teenagers in 1960s Wellington. Also produced by Ginette is the 1997 television drama Ngā Wahine, the trilogy Face Value (where Ginette also stars), and children’s shows The Champion and The Fire-Raiser. Ginette takes the director’s chair for episodes of the well-known series Gliding On, Shark in the Park, Country GP and Rabbiters Rest.

We see another glimpse of Ginette’s wide and varied talents in a selection of factual specials. She dons a chef hat, and probes the police in two Warts & All specials, while in Dunnies Down Under, the nation’s toilets are under the microscope. There are gardens to be tamed in Firth Ground Force, and she follows PM Helen Clark and lends a hand as Clark’s personal assistant in an episode of P.A. for a Day. A road trip from Auckland to Wellington sees Ginette source stories from a variety of passengers in the two-part Inside New Zealand special, The Hitch-Hiker.

The collection also contains a handful of interviews, television appearances, documentaries and debates that showcase Ginette’s disarming wit and nous for storytelling.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ginette McDonald is an absolute icon.” – Tom Sainsbury

NZ On Screen is New Zealand’s screen-culture showcase, with more than 4,500 free-to-view titles from the beginning of the screen industry to the present day. Find us at www.nzonscreen.com.

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