DON’T LET IT GET YOU – The story behind the sign

Nell Williams is a born and bred Wellingtonian who joined Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Publicity and Communications Team in August this year. Like lots of locals, she’d encountered the organisation’s Taranaki Street installation piece many times, and admired the emphatic proclamation of the phrase DONT LET IT GET YOU, elegantly rendered in foot-high block capital neon letters. Quietly occupying pride of place in our biggest cafe window, the sign is constantly exposed to the usual melee of Cuba Quarter foot traffic, and the weekday rush-hour exodus from Wellington’s CBD to the Southern suburbs.  DONT LET IT GET YOU is easy to admire from afar, accepted as just one of the many quirky artistic markers on the city’s creative landscape.

The neon installation facing Taranaki Street, on the ground floor of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.
The neon installation facing Taranaki Street, on the ground floor of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

 

Nell: But once I started working at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, I saw DON’T LET IT GET YOU every day. And I realised I’d never really given much thought to what the piece was getting at… what it meant, where it came from.  And what the significance was for this organisation.

I sat down with Diane Pivac, wealth of knowledge on all things relating to NZ’s moving image community and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Head of Audience, to find some answers and get the story behind the sign.

So Di:  What is the phrase DONT LET IT GET YOU all about?

Diane Pivac:  Don’t Let it Get You is the name of a film made in 1966 by Pacific Films and it’s also the name of John O’Shea’s memoir: Don’t Let It Get You.

John O’Shea was incredibly eloquent and he had a lot to say… he was Mr Pacific Films, who were, to segue, the only independent film making company in New Zealand… they kept the idea of independent filmmaking alive from 1940… well, basically from the 40s through to the 70s, when The Film Commission was established. And in that time, in the 60s, they made three feature films, one of which was Don’t Let it Get You. Continue reading

78 years ago today… Jean Batten Lands in Auckland

At 5.50pm on the 16th of October 1936, Rotorua-born aviator Jean Batten landed in Auckland  she’d successfully completed the first ever direct flight from England to New Zealand.

Although Batten broke world flying records several times over, this was the longest of all of her journeys. Always a solo flyer, her long-distance flights were incredible feats of mental and physical endurance. Her flight from England to Auckland flight covered 14,000 miles, including 1,300 miles over the Tasman Sea – a leg of the trip that was believed to be particularly dangerous, with media commentators criticising the risk she was taking [Te Ara]. This leg of the trip alone took her ten and half hours [NZEDGE.COM]. She flew in a small Percival Gull monoplane. She left England at 3.30am on the 5th of October and landed in Auckland eleven days later, on the evening of October 16.

Batten addresses the media in Australia, before her final leg across the Tasman Sea.  Image: Jean Batten - Garbo of the Skies (Ian MacKersey, 1988).
Batten addresses the media in Australia, before her final leg across the Tasman Sea. Image: Jean Batten – Garbo of the Skies (Ian MacKersey, 1988).

 

Crowds gathered in Auckland, awaiting her arrival.
Crowds gathered in Auckland, awaiting her arrival. Image: Jean Batten – Garbo of the Skies (Ian MacKersey, 1988).

 

Batten's plane appears on the horizon.  Image: Jean Batten - Garbo of the Skies (Ian MacKersey, 1988).
Batten’s plane appears on the horizon. Image: Jean Batten – Garbo of the Skies (Ian MacKersey, 1988).

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The Dog’s got Bite

We’re so excited to be screening Sleeping Dogs at a quality standard never before seen, we’ve let our enthusiasm off the leash…

It’s all about Sleeping Dogs this week! And with almost perfect precision, too.  The Kiwi blockbuster premiered at the Wintergarden in Auckland on 6 October 1977, 37 years ago this week.

The original 1977 poster for NZs original blockbuster, and first US distributed film: Sleeping Dogs
The original 1977 poster for Sleeping Dogs, NZ’s first home-made blockbuster, and the first US distributed film to be made entirely here. 

 

The centrepiece is, of course, the incredible newly-reformatted feature film playing in our Wellington cinema. We’re screening a sparkling new, restored DCP version of the film, courtesy of the New Zealand Film Commission Digitisation Programme. Screening times are here.

Sleeping Dogs DCP test
The newly digitised version of Sleeping Dogs hits Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s cinema screen during a DCP test ride. This pic got our social media channels buzzing with reactions about the incredible quality (and garnered a certain amount of appreciation for Sam Neill).

 

Meanwhile, our Wellington TV Lounge is hosting Dream in the Making, an absorbing 20-minute documentary that takes you behind the scenes of Sleeping Dogs.  The doco will screen on a loop on days that the film is playing, so you can turn up anytime to watch the film crew in motion and see director Roger Donaldson and other key players working through everything from the script, to the stunts, to the special effects. These TV Lounge showings are free of charge. Continue reading

Sights and Sounds of the First World War at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

 - By James Taylor,
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Research Co-ordinator

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision will be joining many of New Zealand’s other heritage organisations in reflecting on, and remembering, the First World War during the commemoration period that began this year and runs until 2019.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s collection of First World War material is unique as we hold a broad range of audiovisual material that relates to New Zealand’s, and New Zealanders’, involvement in the war. Our film collection includes over 60 items shot between 1914 and 1918 – among these are Gaumont, Topical Film Co. and Pathé newsreels, “official” New Zealand, British and French Government films, and local topicals. These are some of the most valuable titles in our collection as they show a range of events, people and places, and despite many being mere fragments they vividly capture scenes from both the home and battle fronts, soldiers, politicians and the civilian population. There are also a large number of amateur and home movies, which record Anzac Day memorial services and parades from the early 1920s to the present day. Alongside these are many more recent feature and short films, television programmes and documentaries about the war. Our sound collection dates back to the early years of public radio broadcasting in the 1930s, so doesn’t include any material from the war itself. However, it does feature many first-hand accounts from men who served in Samoa, Gallipoli and the Somme; nurses who tended soldiers; insights about life in the home front; and waiata, music and songs from the war years, all of which enriches and enhances our understanding of this significant, and traumatic, period in New Zealand’s history.

A 1916 poster. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Documentation Collection.
A 1916 poster. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Documentation Collection.
A 1916 home movie by Rudall Hayward, showing a soldier in army uniform.
A 1916 home movie by Rudall Hayward, showing a soldier in army uniform.

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