- By Diane Pivac (NZFA, Director Connect Division)

In late 2009 the Archive launched Sellebration, a selection of TV commercials from decades past. To begin with we uploaded 20 commercials for each decade from the 1960s to the 1990s and we asked viewers to vote for their favourites.


Voting was fierce and while some of the results were pretty predictable – it seemed like everyone (who was old enough) remembered the famous KFC animation from 1975 and the problems ‘Fluffy’ caused David Judge in the 1980s. Others were less so – Billy T James’ Telethon Song for 1985 beat some stiff competition to be the most popular ad from the 1980s, for example.

Fluffy in the 1980s Ansett Airlines ad.
Fluffy in the 1980s Ansett Airlines ad.


The site proved so popular that once the results were in we decided to add the 2000s and to keep the site live – and we’ve continued to add more commercials, often by viewer request.

Sellebration is a snapshot showing change over time, not only has the way ads are made changed – from the 1960s black and white ads with a lot of earnest, scientific voice-over (usually a man with an english accent, try Deb’s Potato Flakes), to the big-budget pre stock market crash of the 1980s. They also show change over time: from the 60s Craven A King Size filters, to the 80s and 90s alcohol advertising (check out Lion 10 Draught Beer) and the 1990 Commission promoting national unity through the Treaty of Waitangi; or technology changes such as BASF cassette tapes in the 70s (and the fabulous Dear John), the 1987 mobile phone, housed a small suitcase and only available in Auckland, to Telecom’s Xtra broadband in 2006. Continue reading

Summer Season at the Silo Cinema

- By Paula Booker (NZFA Programmes Developer, Auckland)

The final outdoor Summer screening for the season at Silo Cinema, in Wynyard Quarter on Auckland’s waterfront, was projected the last Friday of March. The Film Archive joined forces with The New Zealand Historic Places Trust to provide a unique opportunity for Aucklanders to step back in time with a special viewing of an archival mid-century documentary Pacific Magazine 23: Report on Auckland (1956) as part of the free event focusing on urban design.

The report-style short made in 1956 provides an intriguing snapshot of how Aucklanders lived at the time. Highlights include development of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, mid-century architecture, slum clearances in Freeman’s Bay, urban drift, motorway design and the specific development pressures of the 1950s. The content was reflected in many of the talks given afterwards.

The silo’s waterfront location had a lot of relevance to the flickering images too, with the Harbour Bridge visible directly behind the silo and Freeman’s Bay adjacent. There were about 2,000 people in attendance on one of the last fine nights before the end of daylight savings and the screening was enjoyed by cuddling couples and sprawling teens – and I think I was sitting near a gaggle of Green Party Members who had an opinion on most of the outdated civic planning ideas depicted in Report on Auckland. The boos, cheers and applause were the kind of audience participation that brings this archival material to life, and makes it a useful discussion and educational entry point.

The Saving Frames digital print of Pacific Magazine 23: Report on Auckland looked really great and it was projected about 7 metres across. The Silo Cinema use the company Spyglass to do their massive outdoor projection onto the 35 metre tall former Golden Bay Cement Silo.

Image: Bas van Est, van Est Photography.
Image: Bas van Est, van Est Photography.

Continue reading

My Favourite Pet competition winners

Many many thanks to all of you who shared your stunning shots from your pet albums with us. We have loved watching the cats, dogs, mice and birds flow into our inbox. Because every pet entered had a clear personality all of its own, our Film Archive staff judges have had a hard time agreeing on just three winners!

But, after much consideration and tabulating of votes, we are excited to announce that the winners are: Continue reading

One of the “Mystery Voices of Gallipoli” Identified

The hunt to try and put names to the voices of five Kiwi Gallipoli veterans recorded in “ANZAC,” a 1969 radio documentary has had some success, with the great-niece of one of the men coming forward to identify him.

Rosemary Steane heard an excerpt of the recording on Radio New Zealand’s “Morning Report” last month and realised one of the men was her great-uncle, Joseph Gasparich.

Joe was a young Auckland school teacher when World War I broke out and signed up to serve with the Auckland Infantry Battalion. He was wounded three times in the course of the war, serving not only on Gallipoli but also the Western Front, where he was eventually promoted to the rank of lieutenant, before being discharged on account of his injuries and shipped home in April 1917. Continue reading

My Favourite PET – last entries

We’re impressed by the number of star pets across New Zealand!

This is the last round of contestants in the My Favourite Pet photo competition. The competition has now closed and the judges are considering all of the stunning pet entrants closely. The winners will be announced here on the Gauge blog shortly.

Read more about the My Favourite Pet competition here.


Alanna Hazel1

Alanna’s dog, Hazel.

Continue reading

NZ Museum Award for “Reel Life in Rural New Zealand”

- By Ellen Pullar (NZFA Publicist)

Last week Reel Life in Rural New Zealand - a screening tour organised as part of a partnership between the Film Archive and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust - won the Most Innovative Public Programme category in Museums Aotearoa’s 2014 New Zealand Museum Awards. Jane Paul (NZFA Outreach Screenings Manager) and Zoe Roland (NZHPT Canterbury/West Coast Area Coordinator) were thrilled to accept the shiny trophy at the awards ceremony.


Watch a video from the Reel Life in Rural New Zealand tour:


In March 2013 Film Archive and NZHPT staff toured the Reel Life in Rural New Zealand programme of films made in the Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay regions around five NZHPT registered heritage woolsheds from Maraekakaho to Tinui. The films featured farming history, shearing gangs, kiwi inventions dating back to 1913, and some of the unique rituals of country life.

At the awards ceremony Museums Aotearoa announced that the Reel Life programme won the Public Programmes category by “capturing a strong feeling of nostalgia and authenticity”, and “playing an active part in those rural communities.”

The Film Archive regularly takes films on the road as part of the Travelling Film Show initiative, which takes films from the collections to towns and cities across New Zealand – frequently to the places where the films were made. The Reel Life in Rural New Zealand tour was unique though – this was the first time we had screened films in woolsheds!

Here are some photos from the tour:

Jane (NZFA Manager Outreach Screenings) checks out the lay of the land at Maraekakaho Woolshed.
Jane (NZFA Manager Outreach Screenings) checks out the lay of the land at Maraekakaho Woolshed.

Continue reading

Congratulations Gareth on NZ Radio Awards Nomination

Congratulations to Gareth Watkins (Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero Accessions Archivist and 2014 Film Archive Curator-at-Large), who is a finalist in the 2014 NZ Radio Awards. His feature, Carmen: I Am Here, I Am Me, is a finalist in the category “Best New Zealand Produced Musical Programme.”

Carmen: I Am Here, I Am Me aired on Radio New Zealand Concert in 2013. Listen to it online here.


The ground-breaking music feature documents the birth of a significant New Zealand artwork, while charting a course through society’s changing attitudes towards prostitution, gender variance and homosexuality.

Jack Body, one of New Zealand’s top composers, has long been fascinated by Carmen. In the early 1990s he started on a compositional journey that was to entwine the life of Bizet’s opera character, with Carmen – one of New Zealand’s most original icons.

Carmen – formerly Trevor Rupe – was an exotic dancer and business woman who ran a number of entertainment establishments in Wellington in the 1970s. At that time, New Zealand society was far more morally conservative than it is nowadays; with prostitution, homosexuality and abortion all being illegal. Continue reading