Sketch of Jonathan Dennis Library by Tony De Goldi 2017

TAUTUA (Samoan word for ‘service’ )

- By Mishelle Muagututi’a (Documentation Team Leader, Kaiārahi Tira Pūranga ā-Tuhi, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)
This blog has been written in support of National Volunteer Week: 18-24 June 2017

Over the last few years Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision has benefited from the input of volunteers and interns as they help support our documentation collection staff care for and share our New Zealand audio-visual history and culture. Our volunteers are entrusted with processing collection items, from rehousing to cataloguing unpublished collections and, as a charitable trust, their support is invaluable.

Some of these volunteers stay for quite a while – over the past three years we’ve been particularly fortunate to have had four special volunteers work with us. The ‘Fantastic Four’ – Gema Ibanez, Shona Fretwell, Jill Goodwin and Daisy Wang have now all embarked on exciting personal journeys but we didn’t want to see them go without publically acknowledging their selfless and engaging service to the archive.

In May 2016, we had our first Intern – artist, Jasmine Te Hira, from the CNZ Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Internship programme. The programme allows potential arts managers and leaders to develop their arts management skills. Jasmine worked across teams, firstly learning about archival principles, rehousing, arrangement and descriptions; secondly as part of the production crew for the Siapo Cinema: Oceania Film Festival programme. Her three-month internship was shared with the Auckland Art Gallery. Jasmine has moved on to archiving work at the Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts archives as well as being an award-winning artist.

Jasmine Te Hira presents her rehousing skills in our Jonathan Dennis Library. Photo by Mishelle Muagututi’a
Jasmine Te Hira presents her rehousing skills in our Jonathan Dennis Library. Photo by Mishelle Muagututi’a

Erolia Ifopo working alongside Senior Archivist, Tracy White in the workroom. Photo by Mishelle Muagututi’a.
Erolia Ifopo working alongside Senior Archivist, Tracy White in the workroom. Photo by Mishelle Muagututi’a.

Fat Freddy’s Drop Management donated Erolia Ifopo’s time to volunteer within the community, and she chose Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision and the Sisters of Compassion Soup Kitchen. Here at Ngā Taonga she learnt more about handling complex unpublished collections, arrangement and descriptions and she will take her new found knowledge back to Fat Freddy’s Drop Management’s own archives. Erolia also helped as Production Manager for the Moana Symposium 2016.

Recently we welcomed two new volunteers to the archive. To’aga Alefosio’s three month internship through the Pacific Studies programme at Victoria University is part of her study towards her Honours degree. To’aga’s time here will consist of research into Pacific related material in the collection, providing additional information and descriptions for photographic material, scanning of photographic material, cataloguing and descriptions.

Volunteer, graduate/artist, Kowhai Wheeler will be with us for 12 months as a photographic assistant. She is tasked with scanning photographs, slide transparencies, ephemera, posters and providing arrangement and descriptions.

To’aga Alefosio in the Jonathan Dennis Library. Photo by Mishelle Muagututi’a.
To’aga Alefosio in the Jonathan Dennis Library. Photo by Mishelle Muagututi’a.

The contribution and help of all our volunteers is immensely important, effectively increasing the number of documentation collection items processed and making more of our material available for all New Zealanders.
Kōwhai Wheeler in the Jonathan Dennis Library. Photo by Mishelle Muagututi’a
Kōwhai Wheeler in the Jonathan Dennis Library. Photo by Mishelle Muagututi’a

You can find out more about our documentation collection work in our website:
http://www.ngataonga.org.nz/collections/what-do-we-hold/documentation-and-artefacts.

One of the very special document collection items is the Charlie Chilcott album which you can view here.

The documentation collection team also worked on aspects featured in our Sellebration Exhibition, such as the animation cels used for the 1950s Shell Oil cinema advertisements.

New Zealand representative rugby union team, New Zealand vs Britain, 1930

Our oldest recorded sports broadcast – the All Blacks vs the British Lions, June 21, 1930

By Sarah Johnston (Senior Client Access Liaison – Takawaenga ā-Iwi Matua, Nga Taonga Sound & Vision)

The first test between the All Blacks and the current touring Lions side takes place this Saturday at Eden Park and nearly 90 years ago this week, a similar match took place and entered the history books for several different reasons. 
 
On June 21st 1930, the All Blacks met a touring British side for their first test at Carisbrook in Dunedin. This tour was the first time the British Isles team started to be called by their nickname “The Lions”, although the name wasn’t officially adopted until the 1950s. The home side featured legendary New Zealand rugby names like George Nepia and Cliff Porter, who can be seen in the photo above.

All Blacks, lions, rugby 1930
Otago Daily Times, 22 June 1930, Courtesy Papers Past

It was shocking weather with driving snow, but still a crowd of 28,000 people turned out. You can listen to Sarah Johnston from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision talking to RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan about the broadcast of this match, or read more below about why this game has gone down in New Zealand media history.

The All Blacks lost the game 3-6,  making it New Zealand’s first loss at home to Britain,  but it was also the first time an international match had been broadcast here – and it is our oldest sound recording of any New Zealand sports commentary and a pioneering example of local sound film recording.

All blacks rugby lions tour 1930
Otago Daily Times, 22 June 1930, Courtesy Papers Past

 
Radio broadcasting began in New Zealand in 1921 and sports commentaries started being broadcast in 1926, but none of these were able to be recorded because sound recording technology was still fairly immobile.  You could only record by cutting sound onto acetate or lacquer discs and the equipment was not able to be easily taken out of the studio to sporting events.  So all earlier 1920s sports broadcasts simply went out live-to-air and were not recorded.
 
However in 1929,  sound films (the “Talkies”), arrived in New Zealand. A Dunedin silent film cameraman Jack Welsh,  acquired some sound film recording equipment and his experiments with this new technology were significant enough to make news in the capital’s “Evening Post” newspaper:
 
“TALKIE” PLANT MADE IN DUNEDIN

Two young Dunedin men have successfully built a “talkie” film recording plant, after months of slow and tedious work. Mr. Jack Welsh, working in his laboratory at Anderson’s Bay, transferred sound, from a gramophone record on to a film. When the first trial of the reproduction was made in the projection-box at a Dunedin theatre, the melody was jumbled and marred, but the results showed that Mr. Welsh was well on the way to discovering a satisfactory method of recording. In Dunedin yesterday another trial of the reproduction was made of speeches recorded in the room on Friday night, and the improvement was remarkable.

(Evening Post 06 Mar 1930 Courtesy Papers Past)
 
Jack Welsh had already made quite a few silent films of local sports events in the late 1920s, some which you can watch on our website, such as cricket at Carisbrook in 1929. With his new equipment he now made some experimental sound recordings and by June 1930 he was ready to use it to film the test against the British side. 
 
Providing the sound for his film would be a local minister and rugby referee Reverend A.L. Cantor, who had been a regular rugby commentator for Dunedin radio station 4YA.  Years later in an interview held in our sound collection, he recalled how he took his seat in the Carisbrook broadcasting box, along with his wife, two radio technicians, two Lions players who were on the bench (Welshman T.E. Jones-Davies and Brit Douglas Kendrew), as well as Jack Welsh and his partner J.H. Gault – making it a rather cosy space on a snowy Dunedin day.


A.L. Cantor recalls the test match between New Zealand and the British Isles Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision ID146483
 
The score stayed at 3-all right up until nearly fulltime, but as Rev. Cantor describes, a sensational last minute try by the visiting side caused chaos in the commentary box, when the British player Kendrew could not contain his excitement at seeing his side win.


A.L. Cantor recalls the test match between New Zealand and the British Isles Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision ID146483
 
Unfortunately, the outburst by the over-excited Kendrew (who later became Major-General Sir Douglas Kendrew, Governor of Western Australia) was not recorded as part of Welsh and Gault’s film of New Zealand’s oldest sports commentary, but you can hear part of A.L. Cantor’s commentary and watch excerpts of the game on the film, which Welsh titled “New Zealand Audible Items of Interest.” (Note the All Blacks played in white jerseys, to avoid confusion with the dark blue of the British players.)
 

F4483 NEW ZEALAND AUDIBLE ITEMS OF INTEREST. Sound by J H Gault, Camera by Jack Welsh. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision