This town is on TV

JamTV filming This TownThe TV crew was about to show up, and I was nervous. It’s an act of trust to put yourself in front of a camera. I didn’t know these people. What if they made me look like a fool?

Several weeks before, Melanie Rakena, Producer at Jam TV, saw my book, Moon Over Martinborough, in a Grey Lynn bookstore and immediately called her researcher, Lisa. “I want to interview this bloke Jared Gulian,” Melanie said.

Lisa called me that day and explained the project. Jam TV was making a new series called This Town. It featured people in small towns and rural areas all over New Zealand, and they were doing an episode on the South Wairarapa. Would I be willing to be interviewed?

When I said yes, I didn’t entirely realize what I was getting myself into. As it turns out, not only were they going to interview me, but they were also going to follow me around all day and film me doing things.

The crew arrives

When the crunch of gravel on the driveway announced the TV crew’s arrival, I took a deep breath and went outside.

Jared Gulian on the olive farm, author of 'Moon Over Martinborough'

Jared Gulian on ‘This Town’

A big van pulled up to the edge of our flowerbeds, and out stepped four of the nicest people I have ever met. Along with Melanie there was Jake the cameraman, Andy the sound guy, and Megan the production assistant. They immediately put me at ease as we chatted about the property, the olive grove, the chooks, and the pigs.

They also told me about other people they were interviewing in the region – Leanne and Greg, the local artists and pig lovers who appear in my book as Leelee and the Wolf; Vicki, a retired NZSO musician who runs the local choir; May, a vicar with a vineyard; Joanne, a woman who runs a donkey sanctuary; Mary, a woman in her 80’s who has painted her own coffin; and a few others.

A day with Jam TV

The next 10 hours was a total blur. Yes, 10 hours. The TV crew was with me from 9am until 7pm that night.

Thank goodness that Sean of The Goodness of Food Café in Carterton provided gluten-free goodies for morning and afternoon tea, so I didn’t have to think about it. If I remember correctly, I threw together a big salad for lunch, but God only knows what was in it. It could have been old tea towels for all I know.

I remember making my carrot cake, which I took to friends at Big Sky Wines for a dinner party that evening, followed by the cameras of course. And I remember that the neighbors showed up for morning tea.

At one point the entire TV crew piled into our trusty Nissan Pulsar and interviewed me while I drove into the village. They wanted me to drive the tractor around, but I couldn’t get it started. They also wanted me to chainsaw something, but our chainsaw fills me with a kind of deep and indescribable terror. Basically I failed at doing farm chores entirely.

Jared Gulian on the olive farm, author of 'Moon Over Martinborough'

‘This Town’ on TV One

As it turns out, I didn’t have to worry at all about Jam TV making me look like a fool. I did a perfectly good job of doing that all by myself.

During the interview I got teary-eyed talking about the death of Old Lady Lucy. She was our first pet kunekune pig. I wrote about her death in my book, and talking about her brought it all back.

So basically, when this particular episode of This Town airs on national television, not only will I look like a failed farmer, I’ll look like a failed farmer who cries over dead pigs. I’ll probably be run out of town.

And where, you might ask, was CJ during all this tomfoolery? As is often the case when cameras are present, he was conspicuous by his absence. In fact, he’s become so good at avoiding the media that some people are beginning to think I’ve made him up.

To see if I truly did end up looking like a blubbering and incompetent agriculturalist, check out This Town on TV One at 7:30pm on Saturday, 23 November – New Zealand time. If you miss it, and if you live in NZ, you can watch it for a little while afterwards over on TV One On Demand. It’s episode 8.

And do please let me know the verdict in the comments below. Do you think I’ll be run out of town?

Note: If you’re in New Zealand, you can watch the Wairarapa episode for free on the internet here: This Town, Series 1, Episode 8, TVNZ On Demand

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23 thoughts on “This town is on TV

  1. Susan Pearce

    Wonderful! I’m newly in love with this series, wish I’d cottoned onto it earlier and am now taping it so will be sure to catch you at your woeful agricultural efforts 😉 It will be lovely to see you there.

    1. Jared Post author

      Yes, it’s a great series, isn’t it? I’m so pleased to see the early episodes and see what a good job they’ve done with it.

      1. Jaime Navaja Jr.

        Jared, How are you? You need volunteer or a kind of helping your farm? I wish I could go to New Zealand.. I appreciate it very much if you could share some idea how to get a New Zealand Visa.

  2. Jim

    Jared, I don’t think you will have made a fool of yourself. I think the audience will see a deeply compassionate man who is still adjusting to rural living, even after all these years. Most of them, I think, will get that and will identify with you. Of course, some portion of the audience won’t get it, but then you wouldn’t want their lives either, eh?
    I predict that you’ll sell a few more books in the weeks after the show, and maybe a few more bottles of olive oil. Be easy, brother.

      1. Jaime Navaja Jr.

        It seems you have a lot of things to do in your farm..Wish I could work with you in exchange for food and accommodation.

  3. Deborah

    We love this too! It’s a brilliantly put together series showing various areas of NZ and the fantastically interesting people that live here.

    I squealed like a pig when I read you are going to appear on it, Jared. My co worker (to whom I’m also married, but that’s neither here nor there) thought I’d won a big competition prize or something. I’m so excited for you.

    You’re only human in getting upset at the death of Lucy, and if anyone doesn’t like that, it’s their problem. It won’t make you look soft or incompetent, or mean you’ll be herded out of town, not being able to start the tractor might though 😉

    However, I’ve been busted for blog reading at work. Oops.

    1. Jared Post author

      How appropriate that you squealed like a pig, given that I was crying over one! 🙂 In fact, I found out from Melanie that I’m safe. The pig blubbering bit of my interview didn’t make the final cut due to the timings. Phew! Maybe I won’t be run out of town after all. Unless, of course, there’s any evidence that I couldn’t start that tractor…

  4. Marilyn

    Looking forward to seeing you on TV on Sat night, you won’t look like a fool, you will look like the lovely guy that you are. I am sure that “Suzanne” was looking down and making a few choice comments when you were unable to start the tractor!

  5. su gray

    You will never be run off the farm. The crew probably has you portrayed as a star. I look forwrd to seeing the episode, congrats for being selected!

  6. Jody Murray

    That was a brilliant episode.
    Those great shots when describing your first impressions of the Olive grove were magical.
    Oh and of course Giggles was gorgeous.

  7. Toni H

    Im looking forward to this episode! I am a ‘real farmer’ and whilst I may roll my eyes at you somewhat;) It will be done with love and a sense of jealousy as I strive for my own ‘good life’. Much blessings to you and yours and your wee holding this Christmas Jared.

  8. Lee Cummings

    Hi Jared and CJ, loving reading Moon over Martinborough. Somehow we (the readers) get the true essence of who you are and the moments in your life that make great stories. I’m sure you have many more to share. Such a big heart. Lee Cummings (johns daughter in Aussie)x ps. Sounds like you should “borrow” John whenever you like he’s only a phone call away.

    1. Jared Post author

      Hi Lee – What a nice message. Thank you. I often say that if it weren’t for ‘John’ and ‘Aussie Bronwyn’ we would have been found dead in a corner long ago. They helped us so much in our first years here. When they moved away we joked we were going to get a big red phone installed in their new house so we could have a hotline to them at a moment’s notice. Best wishes to you over in Oz.

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