Rob Muldoon’s Pineapple Whip: The ‘Personality Cook Book’ – A 1971 Snapshot of New Zealand Broadcasting, Celebrity, Social and Culinary History

- By Sarah Davy, Director, Collect [Division] Acquisition and Research, NZFA.

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Being a sucker for vintage recipe books, I recently came across a slim black volume in a Murchison second-hand shop, called the Personality Cook Book. Compiled as a fundraiser for the Petone Free Kindergarten in 1971, it contains 149 ‘Favourite recipes from New Zealand’s leading personalities and the cast of Coronation Street’. Annie Walker (‘Trifle’), Len Fairclough (‘Lancashire Hot Pot’), and everyone’s favourite, the cantankerous Ena Sharples (‘Quiche Lorraine’), grace the front cover, but I was curious as to who would be among the ‘leading personalities’ 42 years ago in New Zealand. Continue reading

The King’s Theatre: New Zealand’s First Purpose-Built Movie Theatre

- By Ellen Pullar, NZFA Publicist.

The King’s Theatre in Wellington was the first permanent and purpose-built movie theatre in New Zealand. It opened with much fanfare on 16 March 1910. Prior to the construction of customised movie theatres films had been screened in buildings built for stage productions, or other available and spacious venues such as adapted hotels and town halls – even old churches. A reporter for the Dominion recalled of an older Wellington theatre:

“His Majesty’s Theatre was not always a theatre. It was erected for the United Methodist Free Church and did faithful duty for many years. Then things happened and the church was converted into a music hall by Messrs Fuller and Sons and permanent vaudeville considerably altered its purpose in the world” (Dominion, 15 March 1910, p. 6).

This same church-cum-vaudeville-house was then leased to the Royal Picture Syndicate for film screenings. Given the venues that had been previously used for screenings, the opening of the new King’s Theatre was quite the exciting event, with the theatre being billed as “the most up-to-date picture theatre in Australasia” (Free Lance, 19 March 1910, p. 9).

Silk souvenir programme from the opening of the King's Theatre, Film Archive Documentation Collection.
Silk souvenir programme from the opening of the King’s Theatre, Film Archive Documentation Collection.

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One of the lacquer disks in the SANKT collections. Image courtesy of SANTK.

Forward To The Past – Engaging With NZ’s Early Computer Games

By Shane Farrow, NZFA Video Collection Developer and Video Games Project Manager

New Zealand’s digital video game history includes a significant quantity of locally written software titles from the late 70s and 1980s as well as some local production of consoles, handhelds, and arcade games from the same period. Currently, few people are aware of this, no significant institutional collections exist, and institutional preservation efforts have been directed elsewhere.

Grandstand was a New Zealand importer and distributor of early handheld games as well as the Sega SC3000 computer. Pictured is a rare Grandstand branded console with cartridge.
Grandstand was a New Zealand importer and distributor of early handheld games as well as the Sega SC3000 computer. Pictured is a rare Grandstand branded console with cartridge.

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