Tag Archives: Sarah Johnston

Decimal Currency – Mr. Dollar the Teacher 1967

50 years of Decimal Currency

By Sarah Johnston (Senior Client Access Liaison – Takawaenga ā-Iwi Matua, Nga Taonga Sound & Vision)

The New Zealand dollar first came into use 50 years ago when we switched over to decimal currency on the 10th of July 1967. That date is embedded in the memories of many older New Zealanders, thanks to a very catchy advertising jingle which was heard on radio and television in the year leading up to the conversion:
“Don’t shed a tear in July next year, for cumbersome pounds and pence. From July next year, every clerk and cashier will be dealing in dollars and cents..”


38400 Decimal currency radio commercial 1966

Radio and television advertising played a key role in getting New Zealanders used to the idea of a whole new currency system and the end of the pounds, shillings and pence inherited from Britain. The advertising campaign for the switch to decimal began the previous year and featured an animated character named “Mr Dollar.” He and the jingle reminded everyone of the date for Decimal Currency Day, known as “D.C. Day”


C1098 Decimal currency. Mr Dollar. (Morrow Productions)

C9904 Decimal currency. Mr Dollar. (Morrow Productions)

Retailers were obviously the sector most affected by the currency change. A radio commercial in our collection from the transition period, gives grocery prices at the national supermarket chain ‘Self-Help’ in both currencies.


39895 Self-Help commercial, 1967

There was a lot of debate around what to call the new currency. Some suggested names included the ‘crown’, the ‘fern’, the ‘tūi’, the ‘Kiwi’ and the ‘Zeal’. But in the end, we settled on the ‘dollar’, as did Australia who had switched to decimal the previous year.

The designs of the new currency were also the subject of hot debate. Some initial designs for the new coins were leaked to the media and there was outcry in Canterbury over a planned 20-cent piece which featured a rugby player – wearing a jersey which looked suspiciously like an Auckland team uniform.

Rejected designs for New Zealand’s new decimal coins in 1967. (Alexander Turnbull Library)

The designs for the 1967 notes were less controversial, with all of them featuring native birds on one side and a portrait of the Queen on the other. Dr A.H. McLintock, who was a member of the government’s Coinage Design Advisory Committee, was interviewed for the radio about the design process and commented on how pleased they were with the new decimal banknote designs.


40194 Decimal currency interview with A.H. McLintock

The new decimal currency was the subject of this humorous commercial recording, a 45rpm disc, released by Kiwi Records featuring The Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral, Auckland. On one side they intone the New Zealand weather forecast and on the reverse, they sing the words of an official brochure called “Dollars and Cents and You”, which was delivered to every household in New Zealand by the Decimal Currency Board. The choir renamed it “Dismal Currency” for their recording. Here is a brief excerpt:


19652 The New Zealand Weather Forecast/Dismal Currency – Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral
KIWI SA60

And what happened to all that old money …

New Zealand representative rugby union team, New Zealand vs Britain, 1930

Our oldest recorded sports broadcast – the All Blacks vs the British Lions, June 21, 1930

By Sarah Johnston (Senior Client Access Liaison – Takawaenga ā-Iwi Matua, Nga Taonga Sound & Vision)

The first test between the All Blacks and the current touring Lions side takes place this Saturday at Eden Park and nearly 90 years ago this week, a similar match took place and entered the history books for several different reasons. 
 
On June 21st 1930, the All Blacks met a touring British side for their first test at Carisbrook in Dunedin. This tour was the first time the British Isles team started to be called by their nickname “The Lions”, although the name wasn’t officially adopted until the 1950s. The home side featured legendary New Zealand rugby names like George Nepia and Cliff Porter, who can be seen in the photo above.

All Blacks, lions, rugby 1930
Otago Daily Times, 22 June 1930, Courtesy Papers Past

It was shocking weather with driving snow, but still a crowd of 28,000 people turned out. You can listen to Sarah Johnston from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision talking to RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan about the broadcast of this match, or read more below about why this game has gone down in New Zealand media history.

The All Blacks lost the game 3-6,  making it New Zealand’s first loss at home to Britain,  but it was also the first time an international match had been broadcast here – and it is our oldest sound recording of any New Zealand sports commentary and a pioneering example of local sound film recording.

All blacks rugby lions tour 1930
Otago Daily Times, 22 June 1930, Courtesy Papers Past

 
Radio broadcasting began in New Zealand in 1921 and sports commentaries started being broadcast in 1926, but none of these were able to be recorded because sound recording technology was still fairly immobile.  You could only record by cutting sound onto acetate or lacquer discs and the equipment was not able to be easily taken out of the studio to sporting events.  So all earlier 1920s sports broadcasts simply went out live-to-air and were not recorded.
 
However in 1929,  sound films (the “Talkies”), arrived in New Zealand. A Dunedin silent film cameraman Jack Welsh,  acquired some sound film recording equipment and his experiments with this new technology were significant enough to make news in the capital’s “Evening Post” newspaper:
 
“TALKIE” PLANT MADE IN DUNEDIN

Two young Dunedin men have successfully built a “talkie” film recording plant, after months of slow and tedious work. Mr. Jack Welsh, working in his laboratory at Anderson’s Bay, transferred sound, from a gramophone record on to a film. When the first trial of the reproduction was made in the projection-box at a Dunedin theatre, the melody was jumbled and marred, but the results showed that Mr. Welsh was well on the way to discovering a satisfactory method of recording. In Dunedin yesterday another trial of the reproduction was made of speeches recorded in the room on Friday night, and the improvement was remarkable.

(Evening Post 06 Mar 1930 Courtesy Papers Past)
 
Jack Welsh had already made quite a few silent films of local sports events in the late 1920s, some which you can watch on our website, such as cricket at Carisbrook in 1929. With his new equipment he now made some experimental sound recordings and by June 1930 he was ready to use it to film the test against the British side. 
 
Providing the sound for his film would be a local minister and rugby referee Reverend A.L. Cantor, who had been a regular rugby commentator for Dunedin radio station 4YA.  Years later in an interview held in our sound collection, he recalled how he took his seat in the Carisbrook broadcasting box, along with his wife, two radio technicians, two Lions players who were on the bench (Welshman T.E. Jones-Davies and Brit Douglas Kendrew), as well as Jack Welsh and his partner J.H. Gault – making it a rather cosy space on a snowy Dunedin day.


A.L. Cantor recalls the test match between New Zealand and the British Isles Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision ID146483
 
The score stayed at 3-all right up until nearly fulltime, but as Rev. Cantor describes, a sensational last minute try by the visiting side caused chaos in the commentary box, when the British player Kendrew could not contain his excitement at seeing his side win.


A.L. Cantor recalls the test match between New Zealand and the British Isles Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision ID146483
 
Unfortunately, the outburst by the over-excited Kendrew (who later became Major-General Sir Douglas Kendrew, Governor of Western Australia) was not recorded as part of Welsh and Gault’s film of New Zealand’s oldest sports commentary, but you can hear part of A.L. Cantor’s commentary and watch excerpts of the game on the film, which Welsh titled “New Zealand Audible Items of Interest.” (Note the All Blacks played in white jerseys, to avoid confusion with the dark blue of the British players.)
 

F4483 NEW ZEALAND AUDIBLE ITEMS OF INTEREST. Sound by J H Gault, Camera by Jack Welsh. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Plunket-Feature-Image

Happy Birthday Plunket !

By Sarah Johnston (Senior Client Access Liaison – Takawaenga ā-Iwi Matua, Nga Taonga Sound & Vision)

The Plunket Society turned 110 years old this month.  One of New Zealand’s most famous institutions,  “The Society for the Promotion of the Health of Women and Children” was founded at a public meeting in Dunedin in May 1907 by Dr Frederic Truby King.

It was re-named The Plunket Society after one of its early supporters, Lady Plunket, the wife of the governor-general at the time.

 You can hear Sarah Johnston from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision talking to RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan about recordings about Plunket here or read more and listen to the full recordings at the links below.

Truby King and Madelaine
Andrew, Stanley Polkinghorne, 1878-1964. Truby King and Madelaine. Original photographic prints and postcards from file print collection, Box 8. Ref: PAColl-6075-16. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23127422

Kate Challis Hooper trained as an early Karitane nurse at Truby King’s first hospital at Anderson’s Bay near Dunedin in 1915.  In this interview from 1961 she vividly describes the rather spartan conditions for nurses and babies, but also her enthusiasm for Dr King’s work, “helping mothers and saving babies.”

Kate Challis Hooper recalls the early days (1961, Ref. 2074) Listen to complete item here.

It seems nowhere was too remote for Plunket.  Mrs Beryl Sutherland, who raised her family near Milford Sound in the 1930s (as her husband worked on building the Homer Tunnel),  recalls getting a welcome visit from Plunket in her remote location.

Life at the Homer Tunnel during the 1930s (1970, Ref 2083) Listen to complete item here.

In 1952, the magazine programme, “Radio Digest” visited Plunket’s  Karitane Hospital at Melrose in Wellington to mark it’s 25th anniversary and broadcaster David Kohn interviewed nurses as well as a resident mother, who had been enjoying Plunket’s care so much she was reluctant to go home!

Radio Digest No. 149 (1952, Ref 2087) Listen to complete item here.

Plunket Book cover 1937
Royal New Zealand Society for the Health of Women and Children :”Plunket Society”. Baby record; Plunket nurse’s advice to mothers. “To help the mothers and save the babies” [Front cover. 1936]. Royal New Zealand Society for the Health of Women and Children :”Plunket Society” Baby record; Plunket nurse’s advice to mothers. “To help the mothers and save the babies” [Printed by] C S W Dunedin. O6979 – 9/36 [1936]. Ref: Eph-A-CHILD-1936-01-front. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23078909

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

To get in the spirit for Ireland’s national day you can listen to this “Spectrum” radio documentary from 1996, about Auckland’s St Patrick’s Festival.

 

Dancers at the Irish National Feis, Kilbirnie, Wellington - Photograph taken by John Nicholson. Dominion post (Newspaper) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP/1986/5281/18-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23030957
Dancers at the Irish National Feis, Kilbirnie, Wellington – photograph taken by John Nicholson. Dominion post: photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP/1986/5281/18-F. Alexander Turnbull Library http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23030957

 

Or tune in to Sarah Johnston talking to RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan about Irish recordings in our Sound Collection.  

LyttletonFeature

Bringing Lyttelton’s Past to Life

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

Historic figures from Lyttelton’s past have been brought to life in a new exhibition of 23 compelling portraits, accompanied by archival sound recordings from the RNZ collection at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

 Artist Julia Holden used current Lyttelton residents as models for the portraits – first creating the costumes, hats, wigs and (on occasion) clay, for the hair, before painting directly over everything with house paint, then photographing the results. You can listen to Julia talking to RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan about the project here. 

 

The Nurse: Nona Hildyard (Laura MacKay) – on display at Lyttelton Health Centre
The Nurse: Nona Hildyard (Laura MacKay) – on display at Lyttelton Health Centre

 

The finished photo portraits are then hung in various locations around Lyttelton, which relate to either the subject or the sitter. The port town’s museum was destroyed in the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes and the project, which is called Lyttelton Redux, aims to help the museum maintain visibility in the community while it operates without a physical building or exhibition space.

A map and audio walking tour of all the portrait locations are available until the end of March 2017 via a free app.

By downloading the app you can listen to the sound recordings and view each of the portraits, making the exhibition accessible to everyone, even if you can’t make it to Lyttelton.

As well as archival audio relating to the historical figure (courtesy of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision) all of the modern-day sitters also contributed recordings, including members of Lyttelton’s well-known music community.

 

The Sheep Stealer: James McKenzie (Adam McGrath) – on display at Lyttelton Police Station
The Sheep Stealer: James McKenzie (Adam McGrath) – on display at Lyttelton Police Station

 

Excerpt from The Romance of Lyttelton (1953, ref. 159065) Continue reading

ChineseNewYearFeature

Firecrackers and Feasts – Chinese New Year in 19th Century Central Otago

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

It’s the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese calendar and lunar New Year festivities are being held around the country as the Chinese community celebrates. Thousands of non-Chinese Kiwis join in with these events, going to lantern festivals, watching fireworks and enjoying Chinese food throughout the month of February.

 

Chinese gold miners, and Reverend George Hunter McNeur, at Carrick's Road, Potter's Gully, Nevis, Otago. Ref: 1/2-019155-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22301091
Chinese gold miners, and Reverend George Hunter McNeur, at Carrick’s Road, Potter’s Gully, Nevis, Otago. Ref: 1/2-019155-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22301091

 

We might tend to think multicultural events such as Chinese New Year are a recent development and part of the more cosmopolitan society we now enjoy in Aotearoa. However, recordings in the sound collection of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision show us that as far back as the gold-rush era of the 1870s and 1880s, Chinese communities were inviting their European neighbours to celebrate the New Year with them.

These are the oral history recordings made with elderly Central Otago residents in the late 1940s by the New Zealand Broadcasting Service Mobile Unit. You can hear me talking to RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan about these recordings or read more and listen to them below.

The Mobile Unit recording truck visited communities all over Central in 1948 and carried out interviews in places such as Arrowtown, St Bathans, Naseby, Cromwell and Lawrence. It recorded memories from people who were aged in their 80s, so their recollections go back as far as the 1860s – and they had many stories of the gold-miners who flocked to the area  – especially the Chinese miners.

 

85 year old gold miner Kong Cong of Lawrence, who arrived at the diggings in 1862. "New Zealand Freelance," 27 May 1936. Ref: PAColl-5469-018. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23053398
85 year old gold miner Kong Cong of Lawrence, who arrived at the diggings in 1862. “New Zealand Freelance,” 27 May 1936. Ref: PAColl-5469-018. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23053398

 

Two Arrowtown women, Helen Ritchie and Ellen Dennison, remember the large meals the miners provided to mark events such as Chinese New Year.  Mrs Ritchie was born in 1863 in Invercargill and grew up on the Shotover and Nevis Rivers, where her father was a shepherd.

 

Helen Ritchie and Ellen Dennison speaking on Mobile Unit – Arrowtown History (1948, ref. 5727). You can listen to the full interview here.

 

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WaitangiDayFeature

Historic Radio Reflections on Waitangi Day Through the Decades

To mark Waitangi Day we have uploaded some historic radio coverage of our national day to our online collections catalogue.

View of the verandah of the Treaty house, Waitangi, New Zealand, looking east across the grounds and including the meeting house. Photographed by Whites Aviation in 1947. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23157208
View of the verandah of the Treaty house, Waitangi, New Zealand, looking east across the grounds and including the meeting house. Photographed by Whites Aviation in 1947. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23157208 

 

You can listen to our Client Services Co-ordinator Sarah Johnston talking about the 1963 celebrations at Waitangi with RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan here. That year was marked by the presence of Her Majesty the Queen (who landed at Waitangi for her second tour of New Zealand on 6 February) and by a speech by Sir Turi Carroll (Ngāti Kahungunu), President of the New Zealand Māori Council, calling on the government to recognise the Treaty in law and make the day a public holiday – it didn’t become a public holiday until 1974.

The first protests at Waitangi can be heard in New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation radio recordings made at the 1971 commemorations. That year, the newly-formed action group Ngā Tamatoa appeared at the Treaty Grounds, and gave voice to the concerns of a younger generation of Māori. Two Māori radio programmes and two documentaries about the 1971 protests can all be heard here, on our online catalogue.

Ngā Tamatoa’s actions meant the media was forced to examine Māori grievances around the Treaty more closely and radio programmes like these represent the start of greater consideration by the national broadcaster about the Treaty and its implications for modern-day New Zealand.

Prior to this, there is not a lot of archived coverage of Waitangi Day itself – and what there is seems to strongly focus on the 1840 Treaty signing as an historic event, something that belonged in our past. 

One outstanding exception to this was Sir Apirana Ngata’s famous speech at the 1940 Treaty Centennial celebrations, in which he clearly told Pākēha about ongoing Māori concerns at the way the Treaty had been disregarded in the intervening 100 years.

Photograph of Apirana Ngata taking the lead in a haka on Waitangi Day at the centennial celebrations at Waitangi, taken by Bert Snowden  http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22311984
Photograph of Apirana Ngata taking the lead in a haka on Waitangi Day at the centennial celebrations at Waitangi, taken by Bert Snowden http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22311984

 

Maori Battalion feature

Celebrating Christmas in the Desert, 1942

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

Silent Night – Tapu te Po (Christmas at NZ General Hospital, 1942, ref. 17321)

 

A recording of the carol “Silent Night” or “Tapu te Po,” sung in te reo Māori and English by men of the 28th Māori Battalion in North Africa in 1942, is one of the many Christmas taonga held in the Sound collection of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

It is part of a series of recordings made by the National Broadcasting Service’s Mobile Recording Unit, in a New Zealand military hospital.  The men singing on the recording had been wounded in the Battle of El Alamein in October and November 1942, and were gathered together by Nurse Wiki Katene (Ngāti Toa) of Porirua, to make the recording which would be broadcast back in New Zealand at Christmas. Continue reading

USS Shaw exploding Pearl Harbor 07 Dec 1941 [public domain image - Wikimedia Commons]

“A Date that will Live in Infamy” – The 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

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

A “date that will live in infamy” is how United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt described the 7th of December 1941. This week sees the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack brought the United States into World War II and brought the war to the Pacific and New Zealand’s back yard.

 

Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the attack [Public domain image - Wikimedia Commons]
Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the attack [public domain image - Wikimedia Commons]

 

You can hear me talking to RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan about recordings from the sound archives of Nga Taonga Sound & Vision about this historic event here – or you can read more here and listen to the recordings in full at the links below. 

At the time of the bombing the United States and Japan were actively in peace talks over Japan’s war with China, with Japanese officials in Washington D.C. for negotiations. However, it soon became clear that this air attack had been carefully planned for months, so the outrage felt by the American public at the Japanese deception was immense.  

The day after the attack, President Roosevelt addressed the United States Congress and the American people in this historic radio broadcast. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision holds a recording made in Wellington at the time, from the shortwave radio broadcast, but this version supplied later – directly from the United States – is better quality audio.

 

President Franklin Roosevelt declares the United States is at war with Japan, 8 Dec 1941 (ref. 151134)

 

USS Arizona burning after the attack [public domain image - Wikimedia Commons]
USS Arizona burning after the attack [public domain image - Wikimedia Commons]

 

The following recording on this compilation tape,  is an eye witness account by a US Air Force serviceman, Lieutenant Wallace, who was at Hickham Field airforce base next door to Pearl Harbor. He describes his very brief experience of active warfare.

 

Pearl Harbor recollection by a US serviceman (ref. 151134)

 

Another eye witness account of the attack – this time from a civilian perspective – was recorded here in New Zealand a couple of months later, in early 1942, by Thomas Matthews. He was an Englishman, a violinist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He was onboard a passenger ship sailing into Honolulu on the fateful morning, on his way to take up a new role in Singapore (which was still a British colony). As he explained to New Zealand radio listeners, at first he and the rest of the passengers thought they were watching military manoeuvres. Continue reading

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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