Michael Nicholson

- By Jane Paul (Community Programme Manager, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

At the age of 100, video artist, painter and sculptor Michael Nicholson has written a book! Due to be published by Steele Roberts Aotearoa in November, Visual Language Games documents his life’s work.

Download this flyer from Steel Roberts Aotearoa to learn more about the book.

In 2008, the Film Archive (as Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision was then known) exhibited Michael’s Visual Music Project, stages 1, 2 and 3 (pictured above). This production used the raw material from his 1977 work, using a Scanimate video synthesiser which – interfaced with a computer – added colour and movement to scanned-in artworks. Read the Visual Music Project exhibition essays here.

The first stage of this project was developed while he was an artist-in-residence at an Australian College for Advanced Education. Thirty years after its inception, Michael, with assistance from archive employee Diane McAllen, edited the footage to create Visual Music Project, stages 1, 2 and 3. This work takes colour and shape to generate a symphony of colour equivalent to that of music.  Continue reading

British Mark I male tank near Thiepval, 25 September 1916. (Image: Wikimedia Commons, from the collection of Imperial War Museums)

The New Zealanders – and Tanks – Make Their Debut on The Somme

By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Coordinator – Radio, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

September 15 marks the centenary of the New Zealand Division’s entry into fighting on the Somme in Northern France in 1916.   Commemorative services are being held in France on the 15th and on Sunday  the 18th at Pukeahu National War Memorial in Wellington. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Wellington will also be hosting a screening of the 1916 film, The Battle of the Somme, on 15 September.

Lindsay Merritt Inglis. S P Andrew Ltd : Portrait negatives. Ref: 1/1-014100-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23020325
Lindsay Merritt Inglis. S P Andrew Ltd : Portrait negatives. Ref: 1/1-014100-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23020325

 15 September 1916 was the first real day in action on the Western Front for the New Zealand Division – and it was also the first day that tanks were ever used in battle. The two went into action together, as an interview from our Sound collection reveals. You can hear me talking about this recording with RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan here or read more below.

Lindsay Merritt Inglis, a solicitor from Timaru, was in command of a company of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade on the 15 September  1916. In 1964 he was interviewed about his experience and seeing those first tanks.

The British military command had been developing tank technology to try and break the stalemate of trench warfare. Their allied forces had been in the Somme area since July, with both sides quickly becoming bogged down in trench warfare and heavy artillery shelling was causing horrific losses. On the first day, they suffered over 57,470 casualties – the worst day in the history of the British Army. Continue reading


Remembering Terence Bayler

We remember Terence Bayler, who passed away in early August.

Terence starred in Broken Barrier (1952), in which he plays Tom, the Pākehā journalist, and was in a number of other Pacific Films productions in the 1950s before he headed off to Britain to pursue an acting career. He also had a role in Pictures, Pacific Films’ 1981 feature.

Broken Barrier (Pacific Films, 1952) film trailer

During the centenary of New Zealand Cinema in 1996 the Film Archive (as Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision was then known) worked with NZ Post to release a special set of film related stamps, and Broken Barrier was selected for the $1.50 stamp. The stamp is a wonderful photo of him and Kay Ngarimu (who plays Rawi). Terence came back to New Zealand and was present at the stamp launch. At that time Jonathan Dennis (the first director of the Film Archive) did an interview with Terence and John O’Shea (of Pacific Films), which was then used on his Film Show on Radio New Zealand.

Terence also acted in The Life of Brian (1979), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) and Brazil (1985)


The Battle of the Somme

This year marks the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Imperial War Museums (IWM) and members of the First World War Centenary Partnership are working together to show the UNESCO listed film The Battle of the Somme (1916), to audiences across the world.

We will be commemorating 100 years since New Zealand joined the Battle of the Somme on 15 September 1916 at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Wellington, with a free screening of the film on Thursday 16 September 2016, at 7pm.  Find out more about Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s screening here.

The British High Commission, in partnership with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Wellington City Council, Ticketek New Zealand, and RSA National will also be presenting special free screenings of the film with live musical accompaniment. At these screenings, on Saturday 24 September at 3pm and 7pm, at the Michael Fowler Centre, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra will play a specially commissioned orchestral score by the British composer Laura Rossi. Find out more about the British High Commission screenings here.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision will then offer additional opportunities to see the film at 7pm, Mon 29 Sept, Sat 1 Oct, Wed 5 Oct & Fri 7 Oct.

Read on for more information about the film, as well as the work that has gone into the restored version audiences here in New Zealand, and around the world, will be watching later this month.

Advert for "The Battle of The Somme" in "The Dominion," 18 October 1916, p.7. Image: Papers Past.
Advert for “The Battle of The Somme” in the “Dominion” (NZ), 18 October 1916, p.7. Image: Papers Past.

Continue reading


Physics and Passchendaele

By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Coordinator – Radio, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

This Tuesday was the 145th birthday of Lord Ernest Rutherford, who was born near Nelson in 1871. He is the man on our $100 note and “the father of nuclear physics” who was awarded the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 1908.

Ernest Rutherford aged 21 (image: Wikimedia Commons).
Ernest Rutherford aged 21 (image: Wikimedia Commons).

Last weekend also saw the re-opening of “Rutherford’s Den,” the cupboard-below-the-stairs where he carried out some of his earliest experiments at Canterbury University College in Christchurch. This is now a fully-fledged interactive science exhibit about the man and his discoveries and it features archival recordings from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s sound collection, including the voice of the man himself. You can hear me talking to RNZ’s Jim Mora about the recordings here or read more and find links to the recordings below.

The Clock Tower building at the Christchurch Arts Centre.

The Rutherford’s Den museum is in the Clock Tower building of the Christchurch Arts Centre, which has been undergoing a massive, multi-million dollar restoration after suffering earthquake damage.  Rutherford attended university there from 1890-94, gaining three degrees before winning a scholarship to study in England.   Continue reading