Octavius Francis Harwood’s first house, built in the early 1840s (currently under renovation). Photo by Alexandra Porter, January 2016.

Octavius Francis Harwood – A Journey of Family Discovery

By Alexandra Porter (Audio Conservator, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Last year I was digitising a 1948 Mobile Recording Unit oral history, as part of a larger digitisation project. While digitising this item I heard the name Octavius Harwood crop up, in an account by a Mrs McDonald from Waikouaiti. I remembered the name of Octavius Harwood (it’s not a name you forget) from my partner’s whakapapa (genealogy), when we were researching names for our son Elijah fourteen years ago. So I got in touch with taua Natalie, Eli’s grandmother, who lives near Taiaroa Head, on the Otago Peninsula and the Harwood-McDonald story began to unfold.

 

Mrs McDonald, of Palmerston North, interviewed by the New Zealand Broadcasting Service, 29 September 1948

 

Octavius Francis Harwood, born in Stepney Green, England, was the eighth of ten children to Robert Harwood, a sea captain, and Mary (nee Soutter) – whose family owned the company, Soutter ships. After a classical education Harwood followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the mariner’s life, which led him to Sydney in May 1837. There he met George Weller of the infamous and well-established Australasian whaling and trading brothers, and in the following year sailed on to New Zealand to take up the role of storekeeper and clerk at their Ōtākou station [1] . Continue reading

Basil Clarke (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection).

Audio Curios: Hamo at Heart

We are currently running a pilot project with a number of access community radio stations throughout the country.  The aim is to acquire a diverse range of radio programming on a regular basis from communities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.  Every six-months each station will submit a selection of radio programming that they feel is significant to, and representative of their local communities.

This month we accessioned programming from Plains FM in Christchurch.  Plains FM broadcasts over 80 regularly scheduled programmes in 15 different languages – one of those is the new bilingual show Hamo at Heart.  The programme “highlights the stories and passions of the local Samoan community engaged in the arts, sports and enterprise”.

In this excerpt presenter Ana Mulipola and Mahlon Moevao interview participants of the 15th Annual Christchurch Polyfest.

“Hamo at Heart”,  06/04/2016

To hear full episodes visit: plainsfm.org.nz/programme/hamo-heart

 

This post is part of the Audio Curios series. Radio Collection Developer Gareth Watkins regularly comes across interesting, unique, and sometimes downright puzzling bits of audio during his accessioning work. He’s going to share some of these audio treasures with you in the Audio Curios series, which will be posted here on the Gauge blog frequently.

Audio from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection, all rights reserved. To enquire about re-use of these items please contact sound@ngataonga.org.nz

An example of part of a National Sales Chart, 9 August 1987 (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection).

All the Hits and More

By Gareth Watkins (Radio Collection Developer, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision has recently acquired from RNZ popular music charts dating from 1956 – 1998. Sales and popularity data have long been used to create various music chart programmes, with the first “Hit Parade” broadcasting in 1946.

An advert in a shop window for the Lifebuoy Hit Parade, 1946 (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Documentation Collection).
An advert in a shop window for the Lifebuoy Hit Parade, 1946 (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection).

The “Lifebuoy Hit Parade” began broadcasting nationally in 1946 on ZB stations each week. Records were selected from the USA and UK music charts, plus recent music releases.

Listen to an unidentified announcer advertising Lifebuoy soap during the “Lifebuoy Hit Parade,” 1947:

 

“Lifebuoy Hit Parade,” 1947

 

Continue reading

53 Years of Fixtures, 1 Collection, 18 Months’ Work – In a Jar

- By Mishelle Muāgututi’a and Tracy White (Documentation Archivists, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)MishStaples

Pictured are some (not all) of the metal fixtures from one of the largest collections (Pacific Films Productions) in Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Documentation Collection. Their removal was one part of the preservation process for these materials, after assessment and preliminary accessioning of the entire collection. Fixtures such as staples, wiro bindings, bull clips, pins, and metal clasps can over time damage archival documents by creating indents, tears and rust residue; therefore we have been removing them in favour of gentler methods of holding documents together. The fixtures are either removed completely, or replaced with archival brass clips or folded sheets of paper.

This one project involved:

  • 2 full-time staff members (4-6 hours per day, depending on other archiving needs)
  • 4 volunteers (6 hours each per week)
  • 18 months to stabilise and remove 53 years of staples and metal fixtures, and rehouse material in acid free enclosures
  • 270 archival boxes – containing various types of documentation (including financial records, production records, personal papers, periodicals, press and publicity, books, flyers, posters, still images, artefacts, and textiles related to this one production company)

We would like to extend our thanks to the following volunteers for all of their time and effort on this project: Jill Goodwin, Shona Fretwell, Daisy Wang, and Gema Ibanez.

Learn more about Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Documentation Collection, and the range of materials it encompasses.

Huia birds, male and female. Harris, Esme, fl 1980-1981 : Photographs. Ref: PA11-046-11. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23081750

Te Karanga a te Huia | The Call of the Huia

By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Co-ordinator, Radio – Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

If you have been to see Taika Waititi’s film The Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) you will remember the scene in which the two main characters discover the long-believed-extinct huia bird, while they are deep in the bush.

In real life, the last authenticated sighting of a huia is generally believed to have been in 1907 in the Tararua Ranges, north of Wellington. Sound recording technology was in its infancy when the huia died out, so there are no recordings of the actual bird call itself. However, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s sound collection holds several recordings about the huia, including eyewitness descriptions of it – and a re-creation of the bird’s call by a man who remembered them well. You can hear me talking about these recordings with RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan here or listen to the full recordings below.
 

Huia birds, male and female. Harris, Esme, fl 1980-1981 : Photographs. Ref: PA11-046-11. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23081750
Huia birds, male and female. Harris, Esme, fl 1980-1981 : Photographs. Ref: PA11-046-11. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23081750

 

The sad tale of the huia holds a great deal of fascination for many people – both Māori and Pākehā, as well as people overseas. In my role as Client Services Co-ordinator, I handle requests from people who want to hear sound recordings from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s collection. In the case of the huia, these might be ornithologists, academics interested in aspects of extinction, or artists and musicians inspired by the melancholy idea of being able to hear the call of the bird that has long been silenced.

This usually leads them to one particular recording, which is the re-creation of the huia’s call.

 

Re-Creation of Huia Calls (Hēnare Hāmana, 2YA, 1949)

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DangerFeature

“We Must Rely on Dramatic Speech and Sounds Entirely”

By Gareth Watkins (Radio Collection Developer, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision recently acquired a wonderful set of cast photographs from the RNZ drama department (#292798). Dating back to the 1990s, the publicity photographs document some of the country’s top actors performing in a wide variety of radio plays.

One such play – Danger, by Richard Hughes – was performed live on the radio and in front of a studio audience in November 1996, in the now demolished Studio 1 of Broadcasting House. The performance marked the 75th anniversary of radio broadcasting in New Zealand. Not only was all of the dialogue performed live, but so to were the musical moments and the sound effects.

(16/055/41) Foley expert Michael Wilson generating live sound effects of a flooding coal-mine “the old-fashioned way”. Producer Steve Danby notes: the small grey-topped stool was a crucial piece of gear in the drama studio: if you leaned on it, it squeaked, and it simulated everything from “creaking rigging on a ship” to “scary doors”. ‘Danger’ - November 1996 production, Radio New Zealand, Studio 1 - Broadcasting House, Wellington.
Foley artist Michael Wilson generating live sound effects of a flooding coal-mine “the old-fashioned way.” Producer Steve Danby notes: the small grey-topped stool was a crucial piece of gear in the drama studio – if you leaned on it, it squeaked, and it simulated everything from “creaking rigging on a ship” to “scary doors.” “Danger” – November 1996 production, Radio New Zealand, Studio 1 – Broadcasting House, Wellington (16/055/41).

The play itself has had a distinguished history. It was the first play ever written for radio, premiering on the BBC on 15 January 1924:

“To my mind, one of the best plays ever broadcast (and I do not say this because I had the pleasure of producing it) was Danger by Mr. Richard Hughes. Here was something that was written for wireless only; the scene was in a coal mine, and was meant to be heard and not seen. If this play had been produced in a legitimate theatre the stage would have been in total darkness; the players and the action would remain unseen.” – Nigel Playfair, Popular Wireless, 9 March 1929 Continue reading

Basil Clarke (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection).

Audio Curios: We Used to Drink from Every River

“Country Life” is archived as part of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s 24-hour capture of RNZ National. In this excerpt ( 22 April 2016), writer and environmentalist Sam Mahon meets with dairy farmer Dave Hislop to discuss their differing views on water.

You can hear the full feature here.

 

This post is part of the Audio Curios series. Radio Collection Developer Gareth Watkins regularly comes across interesting, unique, and sometimes downright puzzling bits of audio during his accessioning work. He’s going to share some of these audio treasures with you in the Audio Curios series, which will be posted here on the Gauge blog frequently.

Audio from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection, all rights reserved. To enquire about re-use of these items please contact sound@ngataonga.org.nz