Everything you didn't see at the TV Awards

Joanna Hunkin,
Spy News,
Publish Date
Friday, 1 December 2017, 12:50PM

There's a certain irony that the New Zealand Television Awards - an event that celebrates the best in our small screen talent - weren't actually broadcast on television. Or even the internet.

The awards have been on a five-year hiatus after TVNZ pulled out of the event in 2012. Insiders have long said the move was prompted by CEO Kevin Kenrick, who reportedly doesn't believe in awards. He likes ratings.

This year, the industry decided to bring the awards back - without TVNZ's support - and a great night was had by all.

With the exception of some timing issues (it ran an hour longer than planned) and a lack of canapes (people weren't fed until 10pm, which led to a stampede for the buffet table immediately post-awards) it was a rousing success.

But official winners aside, there were some golden moments from the night's presenters and winners, which deserve to be celebrated.

Best Burn: Kate Hawkesby

Kate Hawkesby and her father John weren't above cracking as few jokes at Mike Hosking's expense. Photo / Getty

She may come from a serious news background but Kate Hawkesby is a very funny lady. Presenting the awards for best news coverage and best current affairs programme alongside her father John, Hawkesby wasn't afraid to make fun of herself - or her husband.

Dad John was also in on the gag, telling his daughter: "You used to be so nice. The wheels have come off since you married Hosking."

To which Hawkesby replied, "that's fair" before declaring to the audience: "I am not my husband."

Best Improv: Kim Crossman

Kim Crossman's comedic timing was on point throughout the night. Photo / Getty

They say the key to comedy is all in the timing - and Kim Crossman's comedic timing was near-flawless last night. Having presented the award for Best Drama Feature to the cast and crew of Jean, Crossman realised she was inadvertently standing in the middle of the winners circle on stage. Awkwardly shuffling away from the group, she apologised profusely before clarifying she wasn't actually part of the prodcution.

Moments later, as Erik Thomson accepted the award for Best Drama Series for 800 Words, Crossman stole the show again when Thomson dropped the award. Crossman picked it up and pretended to be a shelf while waiting for Thomson to realise and take back the award. It was pure Lucille Ball.

She also dropped one of the night's best burns when she told the crowd: "I've been doing quite a bit of charity work lately. It's for MediaWorks and it's called Funny Girls."

Best double act: The Magasiva Brothers

Robbie and Pua Magasiva are both successful actors in their own right. But Pua will always be Robbie's little brother and the pair played on the dynamic beautifully as Robbie dominated his younger sibling. But while they nailed the scripted banter - which included warning the crowd they were going to be shit - the best moment came when Pua accidentally dropped the award they were presenting, only cementing his fate as the hopeless baby brother.

Best Heckle: James McOnie and Neill Rea

The Crowd Goes Wild host James McOnie and his doppelganger, Brokenwood Mysteries star Neill Rea.

How I never noticed it before is beyond me, but things got off to a hilarious start last night when The Crowd Goes Wild's James McOnie introduced himself as: "Not the guy from The Brokenwood Mysteries". That guy is actor Neill Rea, who was also in the room. McOnie went on to joke that Rea "stole my look," prompting Rea to heckle him with an expletive that can't be published.

McOnie's co-host Andrew Mulligan also delivered a top zinger, referring to their former co-host Mark Richardson. "He left us for the AM Show," said Mulligan. "Otherwise known as Sexist Breakfast."

Best Host: Oliver Driver

Okay, so there was only one host - but Driver did an excellent job, keeping things loose and cheeky. Unlike the Music Awards, which are so tightly scripted and polished for television, the Television Awards had a natural spontaneity. Speeches were allowed to ramble and awkward segues were celebrated. He mocked everyone equally, including this gem: "Netflix is destroying Mediaworks... Just kidding, it's a fad."

Best Shots Fired: Toni Street

Toni Street won Television Personality of the Year. Photo / Getty

TVNZ opted not to be part of this year's awards, saying news and current affairs shouldn't be judged alongside entertainment. Which is a fair point when it comes to individual investigations and news coverage. But the skills required to present programmes like Breakfast, Seven Sharp and Fair Go are unique to television and should be celebrated.

Three's Newshub team were out in force to support their colleagues and celebrate the return of the awards. Photo / Getty

So when Toni Street won television personality of the year, she didn't pass up the chance to make her views known. Thanking MediaWorks for cheering her on, she noted that their support was appreciated as "not many of my colleagues are here". Later, she said it was great to have the awards back, adding: "Most of my newsroom is not here and I hope that changes next year."

Best Girl Power: The cast and crew of Jean

The cast and crew of Jean, who were the night's big winners. Photo / Getty

Lippy Production's biopic Jean won just about every award going last night - and with good reason. It is excellent. It is also highly unusual - as producers Paula Boock and Donna Malane pointed out - in that it's the story of a woman in control of her own destiny. She's not a victim, a sidekick or a footnote. She is the hero of her own story.

Actress Kate Elliott, who won best actress for playing Jean Batten, declared her a "difficult woman" and proceeded to celebrate all the other difficult women who helped bring the story to life.

And director Robert Sarkies - who won best director - also championed the cause, saying: "These stories of empowered women have to be told. By women. And occasionally by men."