The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra turns 70 this week, marking the anniversary of its first public performance in the Wellington Town Hall, on 6 March 1947. Extensive recordings from the orchestra’s early years are held in Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s sound collection, and RNZ Concert have drawn upon this archival audio to produce a series of programmes marking the event.
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.”
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.
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.
- By Ellen Pullar (Digital Programme Developer, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
This advertisement was part of a wider “Different Faces” series of ads promoting Gregg’s coffee, which all present an idyllic picture of a New Zealand characterised by racial and generational diversity. A range of people enjoy the outdoors – having fun on the sand, in the water, in a park, and on a yacht. You can watch another ad in the “Different Faces” series here.
It is just one amongst tens of thousands of television advertisements held in the collections of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, dating back to the birth of commercial TV in New Zealand in 1961. We’re currently working on an online exhibition that will showcase more advertising gems from our country’s television and radio history – this will launch later in 2017, so keep an eye on our website.
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.
With the results from the United States presidential election due to start coming in later today, we thought it a good time to take a look back at New Zealand’s previous Presidential encounters, as they have been captured in recordings held in the Sound Collection of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.
The first visit to our shores by an incumbent US leader was by Lyndon Johnson in 1966. He came to office after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963. That event shocked the world – and most New Zealanders who were alive at the time can probably still remember where they were when the news broke. Here is New Zealand’s Prime Minister at the time, Keith Holyoake, addressing the country on the tragedy:
After the assassination of President Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in , and he paid New Zealand flying visit in 1966, primarily to shore up our support for the increasingly unpopular war in Vietnam.
It was a whirlwind 24 hour visit to Wellington, with a welcome at the airport, a motorcade through the capital and an official lunch at Parliament, while Mrs Johnson toured Wellington’s Botanic Gardens and Cable Car. Continue reading →
- By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Coordinator – Radio, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)
This Saturday is the 80th anniversary of national commercial radio in New Zealand, which started with station 1ZB Auckland on 29 October 1936. Radio had been operating in New Zealand since the 1920s, but advertising was generally not allowed and stations were mostly financed via a licence fee paid by listeners, or via sponsorship from a related business, such as a music retailer. 1ZB had been broadcasting in Auckland for several years already as a private station, owned by Methodist minister Reverend Colin Scrimgeour.
In 1936 the first Labour government under Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage bought 1ZB and re-opened it as the first station of the government-owned National Commercial Broadcasting Service. 2ZB, 3ZB and 4ZB followed in quick succession, bringing commercial broadcasting to Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Former 1ZB owner, Rev. Scrimgeour – or “Uncle Scrim” – was appointed as head of the new service.
Announcers such as Maud Basham, the legendary “Aunt Daisy,” became firm listener favourites on the commercial network, with her chatty programme of infomercials, recipes and household hints, along with new features such as sponsored radio serials, quiz shows, hit parades, sports commentary and talent quests – all paid for by advertising. The commercial network also hired Māori broadcasters in each centre: Uramo Paora “Lou Paul” in Auckland, Kingi Tahiwi in Wellington, Te Ari Pitama and Airini Grenell in Christchurch and Dunedin.
The government soon discovered commercial radio was a great income earner. In the first year of operation, the four commercial stations made a profit of 10,000 pounds. After World War II, income from the commercial network was used to establish the National Orchestra – later the NZSO.
The commercial network grew to include regional and provincial stations and ran side by side with the non-commercial network as part of the New Zealand Broadcasting Service (and various later incarnations such as the N.Z.B.C. and Radio New Zealand), until it was sold off by the government in 1996. The ZB stations became part of The Radio Network – and are better known today as NewstalkZB.
Today marks the birthday of Katherine Mansfield, who was born on 14 October 1888.
In celebration of the influential and innovative author’s life we’d like to share a recording from the sound collection of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision with you.
Listen below to the 1962 radio documentary, The Sisters of Kezia: Katherine Mansfield Remembered. In this programme, commissioned for the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation archives, Mansfield’s three sisters reflect on her life and memories of their shared Wellington childhood.
120 years ago, on 13 October 1896, New Zealanders first got their chance to see moving pictures, when the first film was played to an audience at the Opera House in Auckland. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is marking this anniversary with a series of screenings of a selection of Films that Shaped New Zealand in Wellington over the next 10 days – and we will be preceding each of these screenings by showing either Sandow the Strong Man or The Serpentine Dance before each feature. These were two of the first films ever watched by New Zealand audiences back in 1896.
Eugen Sandow in the film Sandow the Strongman (Edison Studios, 1894, directed by William K.L. Dickson).
The inaugural screening of moving pictures in New Zealand was as part of a vaudeville programme by Charles Godfrey’s Vaudeville Company. The “kinematograph” screenings were part of the show’s line-up, along with singers and musical items. After the first performances in Auckland, the show moved to Thames, Paeroa and Wellington later in October 1896, before further screenings in Christchurch and Dunedin in November that year.
Annabelle Whitford in the film The Serpentine Dance (Edison Manufacturing Co., 1895, directed by William K.L. Dickson and William Heise)