Category Archives: Film

Shayne Carter and Peter Jefferies

Indie NZ Music – Live and Raw

- By Diane McAllen (Senior Outreach Curator – Kaitoko Kaupapa Torotoronga ā-Iwi, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

There is something special about recordings of live music events, they capture forever an ephemeral moment, and for music historians, documentary filmmakers of the future and the merely nostalgic, such recordings can be gold – treasured mementos waiting to be revealed to a new audience.

Recently I watched Ron Howard’s Eight Days a Week DVD box-set which includes delicious digitally enhanced live footage of the fab four performing to screaming teenage girls – you know the footage. Imagine if those fans had smartphones in their hands? I began to reflect on some recordings of live music that I have personally deposited into the care of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

During the late 1990s, my then-partner Campbell Walker and I filmed various live gigs, including a project to make a documentary about the work of Peter Jefferies. Peter had been part of legendary underground bands Nocturnal Projections and This Kind of Punishment, before enjoying a substantial solo career, and he was returning to his home-town of Stratford. There is a fantastic interview with Peter on AudioCulture here

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Peter Jefferies at the Wild Horse, Palmerston North

Peter had returned to New Zealand to spend some time with his mother and was touring New Zealand as a one man band. He had developed a technique for drumming and playing the piano at the same time.

We were both keen fans of all of Peter’s work (later naming our first feature length film Uncomfortable Comfortable from one of his song lyrics) and took time out to travel with him on his nationwide tour. Although the documentary project was left uncompleted, over twenty hours of material was filmed.

Recording live music gigs – in my experience – is like filming a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ documentary. The main purpose of the camera is there to record the event. Frustratingly, you will have little control over lighting, sound or even physical movements of the musicians or members of the audience. Being flexible is definitely an advantage.

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An audience member throws her beer over me and the camera at the Peter Jefferies and Shayne Carter gig.

We had an old Panasonic SVHS camera. Anybody remember those? This was one of those chunky style camcorders that you could easily rest on your shoulder for stability. I used to heavily manipulate the manual zoom and focus rings – I guess that became my “signature style”, a style mostly created to deal with the low light conditions, and my dislike of tripods and automatic settings.

Image of Panasonic Video Camera
Image from Media College

One of the highlights of the tour was being there to film the supporting performance by Michael Morley (like Peter, a stalwart of the Xpressway record label and band member of The Dead C) at Gate in Timaru.

There had been some miscommunication and the event had not been publicised, resulting in an audience of one who had seen Peter the night before in Dunedin and followed us up. In the spirit of “the show must go on” the performance continued regardless. In true noise-musician style Morley made good use of the squeaky metal framed chair that he was sitting on to augment the sound-scape, the film thereby capturing a unique musical moment.

Michael Morley at Empire Hotel in Timaru, 1998, Ref. F84829
Michael Morley at Empire Hotel in Timaru, 1998, Ref. F84829

For a period I’d often find myself behind the camera filming gigs for friends in the independent music scene. Recording almost anything at the ‘old’ Bar Bodega in Willis Street, Wellington always presented a challenge. Bodega was the back room of an old villa and had one corner of the room dedicated to a small stage. Here, recording a performance by American musician Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy) playing with local alt-country band, The Renderers, proved a challenge.

I was off-stage and there were around six people plus equipment on stage. The room was packed with audience members and it was very difficult to get any sight-lines – everything was close, murky, sticky with sweat and the sound distorted to hell. All this comes through on the audience point-of-view film, capturing an essence of the place, band and time.

At other times, because of the throng of the crowd the best angle was achieved by being snuggled right in on the stage with the band. This was the case with the recording of Roy Montgomery (Dadamah, Pin Group), Peter Jefferies and Bruce Russell (former head of RNZ Sound Archives, Xpressway Records and member of The Dead C) at the old Dux de Lux venue in Christchurch. The sound was usually fairly distorted as you’d be practically sitting on a large speaker. When forced to a position on stage you unconsciously became part of the performance – who was that chick on stage with a camera?

Looking back over the footage, it’s a pity we didn’t get more shots of the crowd, but the low-light conditions would have made that difficult. The sound quality is not great either, because of the challenges with relying on the in-camera microphone. However, there is something unique captured by the rawness of the footage, the thrill of the event and the magic of the on-stage performance.

This clip shows a trippy variation of the Dimmer single Evolution with Shayne Carter and Peter Jefferies at the legendary Auckland Venue, Luna

AhiparaFeature

Solving a Mystery: The Ahipara Women’s Fire Brigade

- By Lawrence Wharerau (Kaiwhakataki: Programme Coordinator, Māori, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

I have an affinity with Northland – I love the bush, the people and the sea too, and it’s not just because I’m from down them ways. One of my favourite places on earth is Ahipara, by the sea at the southern end of Te Oneroa a Tohe aka Ninety Mile Beach and sheltered by the Tauroa Peninsular to the west. The Herekino Forest has its eastern flank and it is 14kms northeast to Kaitaia, with Pukepoto in between. Shipwreck and Ahipara Bays are famous surf spots and they were once popular places for gathering toheroa.

Some years ago (as in over 15 years ago), I was going through the film collection at The Film Archive (as Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision was then known), when I came across an amateur film called Ahipara Women’s Fire Brigade, circa 1955, which piqued my interest. I had never heard of this brigade and initial enquiries gave little evidence about what they were about nor who these women were. At the time I was curating for a ten marae screening tour of Northland for the project Te Hokinga Mai o Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua ki Ngāpuhi.

The Ahipara Women's Fire Brigade. Back row: Harriet Pure, Hinemoa Te Paa, Linda Curie, Doris Hales. Middle row: Api Kīngi, Joyce Hunt, Jackie Saunders, Mary Hanlon. Front row: Peggy Adams, Agnes Rakich. Photo by Bruce Rogers, supplied courtesy of Te Ahu Museum and Archive, Kaitaia.
The Ahipara Women’s Fire Brigade. Back row: Harriet Pure, Hinemoa Te Paa, Linda Curie, Doris Hales. Middle row: Api Kīngi, Joyce Hunt, Jackie Saunders, Mary Hanlon. Front row: Peggy Adams, Agnes Rakich. (Photo by Bruce Rogers, supplied courtesy of Te Ahu Museum and Archive, Kaitaia.)

The seven-minute film starts with a wide shot overlooking Ahipara from the top of Whangatauatia Mountain, which dominates the environs to the south of the seaside village and is the gateway to the Ahipara gumfields. Then it shows several of the brigade members going about normal domestic duties: hanging washing, ironing, gardening, and the like. Cut to a rubbish pile on fire, a call is made to the local fire station, the klaxon fire alarm is activated, and then it’s all on. It’s down tools and aprons and a mad rush to ready the fire tenders, a Land Rover with trailer and a flat-bed truck, packing the required equipment, and heading off to the incident. Hoses are run out and the fire is attended to with a crowd looking on.

Ahipara Women's Fire Brigade (New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, 1965).
Ahipara Women’s Fire Brigade (New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, 1965).

You can watch the film on our online catalogue, here

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MatatiniFeature

Te Matatini 2017

- By Lawrence Wharerau (Kaiwhakataki: Programme Coordinator, Māori, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Every two years the crème de la crème of kapa haka artists put their reputations on stage and on show. Dubbed the Olympics of traditional Māori performing arts, Te Matatini is an essential biannual booking in many Māori calendars.

This year’s festival (Feb 23-26) was hosted by Ngāti Kahungunu, at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Sports Park. The event ran across four days, with 47 teams of 40 members each competing in pool rounds for the first three days. The finals on the last day then featured the top three performing groups from each pool.

The competition was fierce and the performances even more so, as groups competed for the auspicious and highly coveted Duncan MacIntyre trophy presented to the overall winner.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision's tent at Te Matatini 2017.
Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s tent at Te Matatini 2017. (Image: Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga)

 

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision were invited to have a presence in the corporate sponsors area by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga along with Creative New Zealand. As Kaiwhakataki – Programme Coordinator, Māori, I curated a number of screening programmes to be played out on a large monitor in the tent we shared with MCH and CNZ. Pou Ārahi for Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, Honiana Love, also attended as part of the archive’s work developing iwi relationships. Continue reading

BoyInTire

91 Years Ago: Athletic Antics

91 years ago today, a fun time was had by all at a sporting event at Athletic Park, Wellington. This silent film footage, shot on 6 March 1926, includes scenes showing various sporting events, including: javelin, long and short distance running, hurdles, cycling races and high jump – as well as some slightly less conventional athletic feats, such as the “boys inside tyre race.”

 


Rose v. Hahn In Final Mile Test & Chief Events at Sports Meeting, Athletic Park 6 March 1926 (shot by Joseph Sylvanus Vinsen)

 

The film also features footage of Randolph Rose, one of New Zealand’s first great distance runners, defeating the American champion at Masterton two days earlier.

 

J S Vinsen with a motion picture camera. Tesla Studios: Negatives of Wanganui and district taken by Alfred Martin, Frank Denton and Mark Lampe. Ref: 1/1-017471-F. Alexander Turnbull Library http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22301776
J S Vinsen with a motion picture camera. Tesla Studios: Negatives of Wanganui and district taken by Alfred Martin, Frank Denton and Mark Lampe. Ref: 1/1-017471-F. Alexander Turnbull Library http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22301776

 

The film was produced to a high standard by Joseph Sylvanus Vinsen. The smart intertitles that introduce each event are designed in modern 1920s fonts and feature a graphic of a runner. It would have been screened locally, as a prelude to a longer film feature, allowing people who participated in the event the pleasure of seeing themselves or their friends / family members on screen.

 

Rose v. Hahn In Final Mile Test & Chief Events at Sports Meeting, Athletic Park 6 March 1926 ()
Intertitle from “Rose v. Hahn In Final Mile Test & Chief Events at Sports Meeting, Athletic Park 6 March 1926″ (shot by Joseph Sylvanus Vinsen)

 

- By Ellen Pullar (Digital Programme Developer, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

ScottBaseFeature

61 Years Ago: Building Scott Base, Antarctica

61 years ago, in February 1956, the design of Scott Base, Antarctica commenced. The project was led by Edmund Hillary. A unique film held in the collections of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, called The Design and Construction of Scott Base Antarctica: 357 Days (Ministry of Works, 1957), follows the progress on Scott Base.

The film’s narrative charts the design and build of the base, the testing of its construction materials, the departure of Hillary and his team by ship on 10 December 1956, through to the men’s activities on the base in Antarctica.


The Design and Construction of Scott Base Antarctica: 357 Days (Ministry of Works, 1957)

The designers of Scott Base were faced with significant challenges in conceptualising the buildings – as the film’s narrator informs us:

“nobody had endeavoured to design a permanent home in these circumstances before.”

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TaranakiPicnic

105 Years Ago: New Plymouth’s East End Annual Picnic

105 years ago today, New Plymouth’s East End Annual Picnic took place. The seaside games and festivities – including swimming, canoeing, a lolly scramble, greasy pole battles, sticky bun contests, and a tape chewing competition – were recorded by New Plymouth filmmakers Garnett H. Saunders and Brandon Haughton. The film was played to a full house at the local cinema one week later.


Scenes at the East End Annual Picnic, New Plymouth (Garnett H. Saunders and Brandon Haughton, 25 January, 1912)

WanganellaFilm

70 Years Ago – Wanganella Strikes Rocks in Wellington Harbour

70 years ago, on 19 January 1947, the trans-Tasman passenger liner TSMV Wanganella hit Barrett Reef in Wellington Harbour.

Coming into port at 11.30pm, the ship’s captain mistook the buoy in front of the reef for a light guiding ships into the harbour. Subsequently the ship, which was carrying 400 passengers from Sydney, stuck to the rocks.

Aerial view of the Wanganella on Barrett's Reef, Wellington. Dominion post (Newspaper): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP-Ships-Wanganella-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22700770
Aerial view of the Wanganella on Barrett’s Reef, Wellington. Dominion post (Newspaper): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP-Ships-Wanganella-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22700770

 

Fortunately, the Wanganella’s passengers were rescued the next day. Rescuing the vessel, however, was not so easy. In spite of several attempts by tugboats to unstick the ship, it remained firmly attached to the reef for 18 days.

The ship was finally freed on 6 February. This film, held in the collections of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, shows tugboats attempting to shift the vessel and eventually succeeding.

 


[WANGANELLA 1947]

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HildaMyNatureDiary crop

Hilda Brodie Smith

Hilda Brodie Smith, of Porirua, wrote, directed and starred in a number of rather incredible documentaries during the 1960s. Her work was so distinctive and professional that she regularly won prizes in cine club competitions.

Hilda’s films have recently been restored by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, and film conservator Richard Faulkner talks about the process in this feature by Radio New Zealand.

12 of the newly preserved films can be watched on our online catalogue, here.

 

Feature image: Hilda Brodie Smith, My Nature Diary (1965).

Kaikoura feature

Difficult Country – Kaikoura’s Tenuous Road and Rail Links

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

Morris Minor car, Kaikoura Coast Road, Hundalee Hills, Marlborough 1950. Whites Aviation Ltd. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22853922
Morris Minor car, Kaikoura Coast Road, Hundalee Hills, Marlborough 1950. Whites Aviation Ltd. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22853922

 

The hilly territory between Canterbury and Marlborough that has been badly affected by the recent earthquake, has long had a reputation as being difficult country for transport, despite its scenic beauty.  Since the early years of European settlement, residents have grappled with the steep Kaikoura coast and the rivers and hills of the “Inland Route,” as is captured in sound and film recordings held in the archives of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

In a 1950 radio interview,  Albert Creed, whose family owned North Canterbury transport company Creed and Derrett, talks about the journeys in the days of horse-drawn coaches and bullock wagons.

Mr Creed recalls the poor state of the roads in the region in his father’s time. It could take six or seven weeks by bullock wagon to cart wool bales from Hanmer to Salt Water Creek (just north of Christchurch) and the inland route from Waiau to Kaikoura was vulnerable to high winds, slips and floods on the Conway River, as many newspaper articles of the era attest.

 

Star, Issue 7257, 19 November 1901. Courtesy Papers Past.
Star, Issue 7257, 19 November 1901 (courtesy Papers Past)

 

Mr Creed began driving the mail coaches himself as a young man. When labourers from Christchurch were brought in to extend the coastal road to Kaikoura through the Hundalee Hills, he transported them as well. Mr Creed recalls fights breaking out in the back of the coach among drunken road workers who had “pre-loaded” for the trip, with some eventually falling out while he crossed a swamp. In this excerpt from his 1950 interview, he remembers how his brother nearly drowned in the Mason River while on a mail run, when the washed-out road gave way beneath his horse.

 

Interview with Albert Creed from Canterbury Pilgrimage No 23 Waiau (3YA Christchurch, 1950)

 

View of the Clarence Bridge under construction, Main Trunk Line, Marlborough. 1940. Evening Post newspaper http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23120313
View of the Clarence Bridge under construction, Main Trunk Line, Marlborough. 1940. Evening Post newspaper http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23120313

 

As the road links were improved through the 1930s and 1940s, the remote access meant workers had to be housed in temporary villages. You can see these,  plus the stunning but difficult terrain,  in this 1939 aerial film shot by the Ministry for Public Works.


Aerial Shots of Kaikoura Coast Road Construction (Ministry for Public Works, 1939) 

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SinkingOfTahitiFeature

Around the World in an Austin 7 (1928-1931)

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

Richard B. Mathews (from Kaitaia) and Hector McQuarrie (from Auckland) came to worldwide attention by circumnavigating the globe in a baby Austin. The intrepid kiwis travelled 22,000 miles in their tiny two-seater car, dubbed “A rugged little baby” by Truth newspaper.

Their journey through Australia, New Zealand and on the ill-fated S.S. Tahiti was captured on film by Hector McQuarrie. This extraordinary film can be watched below, courtesy of the National Film & Sound Archive, Australia which holds the original nitrate film:

 


Around the World in an Austin Seven [Australia and New Zealand], 1928-31, courtesy of the National Film & Sound Archive

 

Richard (Dick) and Hector’s first adventure was the journey from Sydney to Cape York in Northern Queensland. This marathon trip covered 1,300 miles of which 700 were roadless. Austin (Sydney) supplied the “baby” and in return received paramount publicity for their car. Over three months the pair drove further than anyone had gone before. The journey was dangerous – what would happen if they ran out of water or petrol, or the car was unfixable? They navigated dense bush and steep terrain, pockets of quick sand, crocodile-infested rivers and even fled forest fires before reaching their destination. Hector estimated that they averaged 25 punctures a day. Dick was both driver and fixer of punctures, he was “very strong, 12 stone, almost 6ft and built like a Russian.” [1]

The men left Sydney in August 1928, the Austin loaded up with a tent, supplies (including benzene) a typewriter, (Hector had been commissioned by the Sydney Morning Herald to write a serial about their adventures [2]) and two books: the complete Shakespeare and Alice in Wonderland. By the time they had reached Cooktown they had abandoned most of their baggage, and slept out in the open on gum leaves, wrapped in a mosquito net. With no benzene purchasable after Cooktown, they relied on the goodwill of isolated station owners to help out. Small amounts of benzene was received – mostly from women who used it to power their irons. They reached Cape York on 31 October 1928.

SinkingOfTahiti1

After a spell at Torres Strait and New Guinea (without the baby) the men prepared to make a trip through New Zealand from furthest north to furthest south, and then leave on the next stage of their world tour. The men re-united with their car, “Emily,” in Sydney (after it was shipped down to Sydney as an exhibition in a car show).

Hector, Dick and Emily sailed on the S.S. Maunganui to Wellington. They spent two months in New Zealand and the film shows the men in Rotorua and near the Chateau on Mt Ruapehu.

SinkingOfTahiti2

While in New Zealand, Hector gave lectures and showed his film of the men’s Australian adventures. Auckland newspapers advertised this lecture at the Civic Theatre:

Hector MacQuarrie – Author, Traveller, Adventurer

Will appear in person at each of the above sessions and give an illustrated travelogue

WHERE WE WENT WITH THE BABY

Bristling with Wit and Humour!

Admission – Matinee Dress Circle 1s 6d, stalls 1s, Evening DC 2s

(Press, vol. LXV1, issue 19991, 28 July 1930)

In August 1930 Hector, Dick and “the baby” boarded the Tahiti in Wellington, expecting to reach San Francisco within three weeks.

On the fourth day of their journey (300 miles from Cook Islands) they were awoken by news from the ship’s crew that:

“the tail shaft has broken, the propellors droped off, the engine room is filling with water, and the old lugger’s sinkin.”

The 128 passengers onboard knew that the vessels Penybryn and Ventura were coming to their assistance but not when they would arrive. They endured an anxious 50 hour wait at sea. The passengers were well aware that if the calm waters turned, and the wind and sea got up, the boat would sink. In the interim, the loudspeakers blasted cheerful dance music and food continued to be served.

The Auckland Star reported “Hector MacQuarrie [MacQuarrie was his chosen literary surname], the Auckland journalist, was a passenger [...] and he was able to take some excellent shots of the last moments on board, and the sinking of the ship” [4]

The footage begins with Emily being hoisted on-board at Wellington and scenes of shipboard life. Then the last spectacular images, taken on 18 October 1930, of the liner’s final plunge stern first into the ocean’s depths (taking the baby with it). Hector’s footage was taken from the safety of the rescuing ship – Ventura.

SinkingOfTahiti3

Hector and Dick returned to Auckland. The footage was sold to Fox Movietone (for inclusion in their newsreels) and a negative struck for filmmaker Rudall Hayward, who organised showings of the film in Australia and New Zealand.

By March 1931 the couple were in America, where they purchased another Austin 7 called “Emily H.” Newspaper reports from the time record their only “real mishap was when a rumrunner in Florida charged into them out of the wide and flung the car and the two tourists into the ditch.” Luckily they met an English engineer, who restored the smashed car.

After driving through America, they continued on to Britain, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Czechoslovakia, Jericho, Bagdad, Babylon and India. Adventures encounted included “being fired at by a Turkish soldier and charged at by an infuriated camel.”

So, where is this footage of these other journeys?

We know Hector didn’t lose his camera on the Tahiti, so he is likely to have continued filming along the way. Is it housed in other film archives? Or do Austin clubs around the world have it? We’d love to hear from you if you have information on these films made in Europe, Middle East and other places (contact: janepaul@ngataonga.org.nz)

Copies of Around the World in an Austin 7 are held in Australia, by the National Film and Sound Archive, and in New Zealand, by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision was recently in touch with the Austin Seven Clubs’ Association, UK about the film. Chris Garner, a member of the Austin Seven Clubs’ Archive Team, added:

“We here in the UK are delighted to hear that this particular film has been discovered, remastered and made available to all. Our congratulations to all involved.

This piece of Austin Seven history is very important to us all, especially as material of this nature is rare and brings to life what McQuarrie and his companion’s exploits were like at the time.

In conjunction with what our archive team is doing here in the UK with our collation and digitisation project, the film is yet another piece of the rich jigsaw of Seven material that exists. We know many enthusiasts here will look forward to viewing it.”

References

  1. We & The Baby. Angus Robertson: Australia, 1929.
  2. This was later released in a book titled We and The Baby, Press, vol. LXVII, issue 20317, 17 August 1931, p. 11.
  3.  Press, vol. LXV1, issue 19991, 28 July 1930.
  4. Auckland Star, vol. LXI, issue 212, 8 September 1930, p. 9.

Hector MacQuarrie published a number of additional books:

  • How to Live at the Front
  • Tahiti Days
  • Roving New Zealanders
  • Round the World in a Baby Car