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Sunday Theatre 2019

Sunday Theatre returns to TVNZ 1 with three new local features that bring to life true and compelling New Zealand stories.

Funded by NZ On Air, the 2019 Sunday Theatre line-up is:

A War Story  

A War Story is based on the dramatic events leading up and subsequent to an interview with Osama Bin Laden conducted in 1997 by Pulitzer prize-winning Kiwi journalist Peter Arnett (John Leigh, Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune).

The feature weaves dramatic recreations with archive footage to tell the story of Arnett’s clandestine meeting, where bin Laden outlined his vision of the changing Arab world and his determination to expel US troops.

After 9/11, Arnett watched horrified as the Twin Towers collapsed and remembered bin Laden’s threats. In 2014, bin Laden’s senior lieutenant, Khalid al-Fawwaz, the man who Arnett had organised Arnett’s interview, went on trial in New York. Arnett’s testimony was key to his conviction.

Runaway Millionaires

What would you do if $10 million accidentally dropped into your bank account? In 2009, the nation was fascinated by exactly this question when it happened to Kara Hurring and Leo Gao.

The Rotorua couple fast-tracked their way out of financial strife after receiving the money in error from the Westpac Bank, and fled New Zealand for a new life in China.

Their story captivated the country for two years and the hunt for New Zealand’s most wanted couple gripped the nation. When the police drained their offshore bank accounts, Leo took the rest of the money and fled. Kara was left alone in a strange country to fend for herself. She had a six year-old, no money and was on the run.

Runaway Millionaires is Kara’s incredible untold story.


Ablaze tells the tragic story of New Zealand’s worst fire disaster, at the Ballantyne’s department store in Christchurch in 1947.

On November 18, a raging fire ripped through the iconic three-story building. On that fateful Tuesday, 41 people lost their lives.

The fire represents a hugely dramatic chapter in New Zealand’s history: it forever changed the way we mange fire prevention and our fire service.

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