We find John Day’s missing Billy T census ad

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M+AD has tracked down the Billy T James 1991 NZ Census commercial shot by John Day, who died last week in India (celebrated-nz-director-exits). The video was stored in the Flying Fish film vaults, and is now being run with a Fish tribute page to the director at on the Fish Facebook page here.

We’ve also received some first-hand memories and photos passed on to us by Iain Harvey of Christchurch agency Harvey|Cameron.

“Just to fill you in on the Statistics NZ commercials which John shot – it was actually for the 1991 census,” Harvey writes.

“They were shot for Saatchi & Saatchi Christchurch in 1990, in and around Billy’s home near Muriwai.

“There was always a concern that Billy would not live to see them on air in early 1991, but he did.

“Brian Kassler was the producer and pyrotechnics specialist. The creative team was Dave Sigglekow and myself.

“Billy was chosen after we did some research as to who was the most popular Kiwi across the nation. He won hands down. The shots from the shoot were taken by me.”

“John did a huge amount to put so much life into the scripts. He was often down in Christchurch during the ’90s as he did a number of small projects down here and had family.

“A lovely man.”

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