ScottBaseFeature

61 Years Ago: Building Scott Base, Antarctica

61 years ago, in February 1956, the design of Scott Base, Antarctica commenced. The project was led by Edmund Hillary. A unique film held in the collections of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, called The Design and Construction of Scott Base Antarctica: 357 Days (Ministry of Works, 1957), follows the progress on Scott Base.

The film’s narrative charts the design and build of the base, the testing of its construction materials, the departure of Hillary and his team by ship on 10 December 1956, through to the men’s activities on the base in Antarctica.


The Design and Construction of Scott Base Antarctica: 357 Days (Ministry of Works, 1957)

The designers of Scott Base were faced with significant challenges in conceptualising the buildings – as the film’s narrator informs us:

“nobody had endeavoured to design a permanent home in these circumstances before.”

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MainlandRGB

“I’ve Never Seen Them So Excited…”

One great thing about working at an audiovisual archive is helping people connect with the stories and faces of their past.

Not long ago, a member of the public – Richard Poole – contacted one of our Client Services team asking if we had a copy of a certain Mainland Cheese advertisement from the 1980s.

The ad was filmed outside the Mahinapua Hotel on the West Coast in 1985. In it, some of the locals have come down to the pub to “put in a good word for the local vintage.” They’re silently leaning on a truck in the background and the narrator tells us that he’s “never seen them so excited.”

Richard told us that his uncle, George Gillingham, happened to be one of the old timers in the background, leaning on the truck outside the pub. On the day of the filming George and some mates had just returned from whitebaiting, when they were approached by the film crew to help out with the film shoot.

Richards says his uncle was a born and bred West Coaster who, in the 1930s, felled bush to create a farm just south of Harihari (South Westland). When he retired from farming, he was the caretaker at Hokitika High School, admired and remembered by many. He also like to write poetry and the odd bit of prose.

Richard recalls that his Uncle George used to airmail whitebait to his family in the Hutt (Epuni), and “could you believe that we ate so much, we nearly got sick of them!”

The advertisement is now on our online catalogue – you can watch it here.

 

This 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 Facebook page for the announcement.

 

Thank you to Richard Poole for sharing this story. We hope you and your family have enjoyed seeing this ad with your Uncle George again.

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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MaoriForBeginnersFeature

Māori for Beginners

- By Alexandra Porter (Audio Conservator, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision) 

Tēnā koutou katoa
Ko Alexandra Porter tōku ingoa
Nō Ingarani me Kōtarania ōku tīpuna,
I whānau mai ahau i Īnia,
Kei Ōtautahi tōku kāinga ināianei

Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou katoa
Nō reira, he waka eke noa
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa

Born in India from English and Scottish parents, I emigrated from Ingarani (England) at the age of 20 and apart from a couple of years in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne) and Ōtepoti  (Dunedin) have settled largely in Ōtautahi (Christchurch). I consider Aotearoa home; it is where my son was born (Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu) and where I have been growing roots for the best part of 23 years. It is with a degree of embarrassment then when I admit te reo Māori had been on my list of things to do for far too long.

Fortunately my challenging but inspiring journey of te reo began in March 2016 when support from work and a window in the evening schedule allowed; challenging because my brain is not a great receptor between 6.30-8.30pm, and inspiring because it opened up te ao Māori and has served to strengthen family ties. My son continues to learn te reo at school and takes great satisfaction from correcting my whakahua (pronunciation) and testing me on my mahi kāinga (home work) which I am grateful for, as teenage years advance and the general urge to kōrero with parents can diminish.

In Ōtautahi te reo Māori and tikanga has been something I personally associated mostly with formal or bicultural occasions, scattered within extended whānau gatherings or at work, limited to the beginning and ending of email correspondence. However, one has to start somewhere, and only in daily use have I found any new language sticks. Therefore (thanks to colleague and fellow te reo student, Sarah Johnston) my workplace and home are now covered in pieces of paper to assist this slow process of neuro-linguistic embedding.

Our wonderful kaiako (teacher) and talented kaiwaiata (singer) Antoinette Koko (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu) has introduced us to a variety of traditional karakia (prayer) and waiata (song) as part of the curriculum, the latter to which I was initially resistant as singing in any capacity is not my thing. Timely choral bursts do, however, serve to expand her class’ attention span whilst lifting spirits and confidence (it’s a good trick). So when, following the end of the term last year, a friend played me The Alphabet Song from a 1972 vinyl LP produced by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation I was eager to both share and find out who else had come across it.

A recent and proud addition to his vinyl record collection, the LP titled MAORI for BEGINNERS* by Professor Biggs [1.] (LP cover featured below) was purchased from a Christchurch second-hand store for just a few dollars. The spellbinding first track immediately seized my attention as its melodious vocal pattern of letters was unique to anything I’d heard before.

 

MAORI for BEGINNERS (New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, 1972).
MAORI for BEGINNERS (New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, 1972).

 

Back at work a search in Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s collections database revealed that we had a copy on DAT (Digital Audio Tape), taken from an LP of the same name produced in 1972 – but no original vinyl disc was present in the archive. DATs are high on all sound archive preservation agendas as the format (largely from the late 1980s-early 2000s), developed for storing and backing up data onto magnetic tape, is unfortunately rapidly deteriorating. Now however, following its digitisation, this taonga is available to listen to in its entirety on our online catalogue. Continue reading

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