Robin Hyde feature

National Poetry Day

To mark National Poetry Day today,  here is a historic radio broadcast from 1939 by politician and novelist John A. Lee – paying tribute to the New Zealand poet Iris Wilkinson, better known as Robin Hyde.

John Alfred Alexander Lee, Labour Under-Secretary, giving a speech [Orakei, Auckland?]. Whites Aviation Ltd : Photographs. Ref: WA-67319-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22857067
John Alfred Alexander Lee, Labour Under-Secretary, giving a speech [Orakei, Auckland?]. Whites Aviation Ltd : Photographs. Ref: WA-67319-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22857067

Today we might call John A. Lee a social justice activist. He grew up in poverty in Dunedin at the end of the 19th century, was a vagrant and then imprisoned as a young man for petty crime – where he discovered socialism. He fought in WWI, where he was decorated for bravery and lost an arm. Eventually, on his return to New Zealand during the Depression of the 1930s, he got into politics and wrote his first novel, Children of the Poor.

Robin Hyde. S P Andrew Ltd : Portrait negatives. Ref: 1/2-043599-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22770176
Robin Hyde. S P Andrew Ltd : Portrait negatives. Ref: 1/2-043599-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22770176

While in Parliament he met young Iris Wilkinson, who was working in the Press Gallery at the age of just 17. She is best known today as a novelist, for her World War I novel Passport to Hell and the autobiographical The Godwits Fly, but in the 1920s and early 1930s she was best known as a poet. She was plagued by ill health, mental illness and drug addiction and after a very adventurous but tragically short life, she committed suicide in 1939 in London. John A. Lee had maintained a long correspondence with her throughout her life, and in he took to the airwaves to give this moving tribute:

 

Tribute to Robin Hyde by John A. Lee (1939). Full information about this recording is available here.

 

Audio  from the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection, all rights reserved. To enquire about re-use of this item please contact sound@ngataonga.org.nz

TrevorBerghanFeatureImage

Audio Curios: “Beautifully Built with a Fine Fend and Elusive Side Step”

- By Gareth Watkins (Radio Collection Developer, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision recently acquired an interview recorded in 1938/39 with All Black Trevor Berghan. The discs came from Trevor’s daughter Penelope Hansen and were recorded after the 1938 All Black tour of Australia.

 

The scene on the Queens Wharf last night when the Wanganella, with the All Black Rugby team to tour Australia on board, left for Sydney, (Evening Post, 08 July 1938). Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/18982283
The scene on the Queens Wharf last night when the Wanganella, with the All Black Rugby team to tour Australia on board, left for Sydney, (Evening Post, 08 July 1938). Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/18982283

 

Before the discs were deposited, I did some research and found that Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision already had some early recordings from that same tour in the collection – namely a short interview with the Australian and New Zealand Captains and the last 10-or-so minutes of the 2nd Test.

In this first audio excerpt All Black Captain Neville “Brushy” Mitchell and the Australian Captain Vay[ro] Wilson talk on the eve of the 2nd Test.

 

All Blacks vs Australia, 5 August 1938 (New Zealand Broadcasting Service)

Continue reading

detail-of-22860362

Audio Curios: Children Will Listen

- By Gareth Watkins (Radio Collection Developer, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision has recently acquired a set of Insight documentaries, spanning 1997-2000, deposited  by Adriann Smith, a former Radio New Zealand producer. Insight is now the longest-running documentary programme on RNZ, having started back in the late 1960s. Gavin McGinley, RNZ National scheduler, recalls:

“As I remember, the National programme used to have a documentary on Sunday mornings in the 1960s. Most of the time they were BBC programmes with the occasional one from the ABC, CBC or SABC. Then I think they began to alternate – one homegrown documentary, one overseas. The first time I remember Insight being used as a series title was about the time I moved to 2ZD Masterton in 1969. And for the next few years the programme was known as Insight ‘69, Insight ‘70, Insight ‘71, etc.”

Adriann’s documentaries from the late 1990s cover a diverse range of subject matter – from revamping the public service to body image.

One that caught my eye from 1997 was “Culture and Cool” – young people speak about cultural change and the influence of mass media on cultural ideas. In this edited excerpt, students from Rongotai College in Wellington talk about how music influences fashion and how media influences language.

 

Insight ’97, “Culture and Cool” (Radio New Zealand) Continue reading

Carmen big

Carmen Rupe

Earlier this week Mayor of Wellington Celia Wade-Brown launched the Carmen Rupe traffic lights on Cuba Street.

Carmen (1936-2011) was a transgender entertainer, brothel keeper, anti-discrimination and HIV AIDS activist.

In 1975 she was interviewed on 2ZM by David Mahoney about her life. Head over to the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision online catalogue and listen to the interview here.

Carmen as a mayoral candidate for Wellington. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 1/4-028324-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22313265
Carmen as a mayoral candidate for Wellington. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002) : Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 1/4-028324-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22313265
114-363-03.tif

Audio Curios: Notes of Appreciation

- By Gareth Watkins (Radio Collection Developer, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Recently Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision acquired a set of very special discs from violinist Vince Aspey. The discs not only give a glimpse into Vince’s and his father Vincent Aspey’s distinguished musical careers, they also capture some of the early moments of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra – back then known as the National Orchestra.

Six years before the National Orchestra’s formation in 1946, an orchestra had been established for the nation’s centennial celebrations. In this recording from 1940, the legendary British conductor Sir Thomas Beecham  – passing through Auckland on his way to Sydney – introduces and then conducts the Centennial Festival Orchestra and Heddle Nash and Isobel Baillie in the garden scene from Faust.

 

Sir Thomas Beecham (1940, National Broadcasting Service)

 

It wasn’t until after the war that a permanent national orchestra was established. Andersen Tyrer was appointed conductor and Vincent Aspey orchestra leader.  As noted on NZ History Aspey had never heard a major orchestra play, but his experience leading orchestras in Auckland, Sydney and Wellington made him an obvious choice for leader.

 

Vincent Aspey playing the violin, Wellington Town Hall [1955]. New Zealand Free Lance : Photographic prints and negatives. Ref: 1/2-146976-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22914998
Vincent Aspey playing the violin, Wellington Town Hall [1955]. New Zealand Free Lance : Photographic prints and negatives. Ref: 1/2-146976-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22914998
 

During those early orchestral rehearsals in 1946, Vincent Aspey’s son Vince recalls standing in the control room at the Waring Taylor Street studios watching his father perform. From one of those first rehearsals comes this recording of soloist Vincent Aspey and the National Orchestra.

 

Vincent Aspey and the National Orchestra in rehearsal (1946)

Continue reading

23249989-detail

Audio Curios: It’s in the Boot!

- By Gareth Watkins (Radio Collection Developer, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Earlier this week I stumbled across a number of delightful game shows in the radio collection of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

The first programme featured the much-loved entertainer Selwyn Toogood. In this excerpt, he hosts “It’s in the Bag’” from Dannevirke in 1955.

 

“It’s in the Bag,” 1955, NZBS

You can hear a longer version of this show here.

 

Then I came across “One Minute Please,” a New Zealand Broadcasting Service panel game that was recorded in front of a live audience. Two teams of three, one male and one female were given topics to discuss for one minute, with general rules of impromptu speaking. Continue reading