The Governor (TV series)

The Governor was a 1977 New Zealand docudrama television miniseries on Sir George Grey, co-produced by TV One and the National Film Unit, with Grey played by English actor Corin Redgrave. There were six parts, screened from Sunday 2 October 1977; the series has not been rescreened as TV One omitted to obtain repeat rights.

The series was about Sir George Grey as Governor of New Zealand 1845-53 & 1861-68. In the nineteenth century he was both Governor and (later) Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Governor of South Australia and Governor of the Cape Colony. Neville describes him as “a Victorian gentleman, a drug addict (he used laudanum) and a lecher”. The cost (with over-runs) was $1 million, and Prime Minister Robert Muldoon instigated an investigation by the parliamentary public expenditure committee into budgeting and the control of expenditure in television. The series also aroused controversy because of the emphasis on Grey’s private life, and the dialogue in the Māori language, often without subtitles.

Keith Aberdein wrote the script, from an idea by Michael A. Noonan, and carried out his own historical research and interviews. The series was produced by Tony Isaac. It won the 1978 Feltex Award for best drama, and Episode 4 won the award for best script.

The Episodes

  1. The Reverend Traitor: Grey and the missionary Henry Williams (Grant Tilly)
  2. No Way to treat a Lady: Grey and his wife Eliza (Judy Cleine)
  3. The Mutinous Lieutenant: Grey and Edward John Eyre (Jeremy Stephens)
  4. He Iwi Tahi Tatou (now we are one people): Grey and Wiremu Tamihana (Don Selwyn)
  5. The Lame Seagull: Grey’s war with British general Sir Duncan Cameron (Martyn Sanderson).
  6. To the Death: Grey in the Mansion House on Kawau Island, looking back


There was an American TV series of the 1960s with a similar name.


  • Good Governor Grey by Hugh Neville in the New Zealand Listener of 1 October 1977; Volume 87 number 1971, pages 38–39.
  • The Governor by Keith Aberdein (1977, Hamlet Books, Wellington) ISBN 0-908580-00-2

External links

  • on the Film Archives website
  • online (go down list of films on left)
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