Ourselves in Primetime: A History of Television Drama in New Zealand


Trisha Dunleavy

*No longer in print


‘Trisha Dunleavy has done an excellent job of reminding us of this rich drama heritage. She argues, convincingly, that it is important to see ourselves and tell our stories on television. . . . This book is a valuable resource because it describes the content and making of our drama programmes.’ – Ruth Zanker, The Press


Ourselves in Primetime is the first study of home-grown television drama, covering its development in all genres from 1960 to 2005 and treating landmark programmes in detail.

Dunleavy addresses the difficulties, practical, creative, economic and political, that have faced the production of TV drama in a small country, revealing how policy toward local content was part of a wider picture. She also believes that it is only through telling our own stories that we can know ourselves and shows how TV drama has reflected changes in ideas about ‘cultural identity’ and New Zealand society. While there are disappointments and frustrations in this history there are also triumphs and much evidence of talent.

Ourselves in Primetime, written in a clear and lively style, is based on a thorough knowledge of the industry and on many interviews with participants. It provides a fascinating and illuminating angle on arts policy and on the interplay between state and private enterprise in this key aspect of the media over nearly half a century.



Dr Trisha Dunleavy is one of New Zealand’s leading researchers into television issues and a senior lecturer in media studies at Victoria University of Wellington.


June 2005, 228 x 155 mm, 300 pages, illustrations
paperback, ISBN 9781869403393, $49.99