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.
- By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Coordinator – Radio, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)
The hilly territory between Canterbury and Marlborough that has been badly affected by the recent earthquake, has long had a reputation as being difficult country for transport, despite its scenic beauty. Since the early years of European settlement, residents have grappled with the steep Kaikoura coast and the rivers and hills of the “Inland Route,” as is captured in sound and film recordings held in the archives of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.
In a 1950 radio interview, Albert Creed, whose family owned North Canterbury transport company Creed and Derrett, talks about the journeys in the days of horse-drawn coaches and bullock wagons.
Mr Creed recalls the poor state of the roads in the region in his father’s time. It could take six or seven weeks by bullock wagon to cart wool bales from Hanmer to Salt Water Creek (just north of Christchurch) and the inland route from Waiau to Kaikoura was vulnerable to high winds, slips and floods on the Conway River, as many newspaper articles of the era attest.
Mr Creed began driving the mail coaches himself as a young man. When labourers from Christchurch were brought in to extend the coastal road to Kaikoura through the Hundalee Hills, he transported them as well. Mr Creed recalls fights breaking out in the back of the coach among drunken road workers who had “pre-loaded” for the trip, with some eventually falling out while he crossed a swamp. In this excerpt from his 1950 interview, he remembers how his brother nearly drowned in the Mason River while on a mail run, when the washed-out road gave way beneath his horse.
As the road links were improved through the 1930s and 1940s, the remote access meant workers had to be housed in temporary villages. You can see these, plus the stunning but difficult terrain, in this 1939 aerial film shot by the Ministry for Public Works.
Blenheimer, Marque Vue, Cold Duck. If you are over a certain age those names of early New Zealand wines may bring back a few memories. In her regular segment on RNZ, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision client services coordinator Sarah Johnston talked to Jesse Mulligan about recordings in the sound collection of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision that look back at the early years of New Zealand’s export wine industry.
The earliest mention in our sound collection of a possible wine export industry, comes from the magazine-style programme “Radio Digest” in 1955. A correspondent in Britain reports on Australian moves to export wine to the UK – and hints that this could be something we could try – one day…
We remember Terence Bayler, who passed away in early August.
Terence starred inBroken Barrier (1952), in which he plays Tom, the Pākehā journalist, and was in a number of other Pacific Films productions in the 1950s before he headed off to Britain to pursue an acting career. He also had a role in Pictures, Pacific Films’ 1981 feature.
During the centenary of New Zealand Cinema in 1996 the Film Archive (as Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision was then known) worked with NZ Post to release a special set of film related stamps, and Broken Barrier was selected for the $1.50 stamp. The stamp is a wonderful photo of him and Kay Ngarimu (who plays Rawi). Terence came back to New Zealand and was present at the stamp launch. At that time Jonathan Dennis (the first director of the Film Archive) did an interview with Terence and John O’Shea (of Pacific Films), which was then used on his Film Show on Radio New Zealand.
Terence also acted in The Life of Brian (1979), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) and Brazil (1985)
By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Coordinator – Radio, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)
This Tuesday was the 145th birthday of Lord Ernest Rutherford, who was born near Nelson in 1871. He is the man on our $100 note and “the father of nuclear physics” who was awarded the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 1908.
Last weekend also saw the re-opening of “Rutherford’s Den,” the cupboard-below-the-stairs where he carried out some of his earliest experiments at Canterbury University College in Christchurch. This is now a fully-fledged interactive science exhibit about the man and his discoveries and it features archival recordings from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s sound collection, including the voice of the man himself. You can hear me talking to RNZ’s Jim Mora about the recordings here or read more and find links to the recordings below.
The Rutherford’s Den museum is in the Clock Tower building of the Christchurch Arts Centre, which has been undergoing a massive, multi-million dollar restoration after suffering earthquake damage. Rutherford attended university there from 1890-94, gaining three degrees before winning a scholarship to study in England. Continue reading →
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.
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 →
Leading up to the Summer Olympics in Rio here are some golden sporting moments from Aotearoa’s past.
On the 6 August 1936, 80 years ago, Jack Lovelock won the gold medal in the 1500 metre race at the Summer Olympics in Berlin. He also set a new world record of 3 minutes 47.8 seconds. Lovelock’s friend – 1924 sprint gold-medallist Harold Abrahams – commentates in this exciting radio broadcast. The audio excerpt ends with Lovelock briefly reflecting on the win.
I was pleased to see you’ve included the N.Z. Hit Parade (1952) on your blog.
It so happens that this was yet another of my “babies” and I thought you might like to have some background to it. In those days, apart from some radio drama, New Zealand Broadcasting Service producers were not allowed to be credited.
In the early 1950s most of the so-called “local” radio stations, that is those with a YX call sign, were running their own Hit Parades, with results taken from sales in their town’s record shops. I was a producer at 2YA in Wellington, and it occurred to me that if these results could be combined we would have a near enough to true measure of the most popular songs in New Zealand for that week. In fact it would create a N.Z. Hit Parade. My boss was enthusiastic, and the stations thought it was a good idea and willingly co-operated by sending me their weekly “charts.”
This was in contrast to commercial radio’s Lifebuoy Hit Parade, whose results were based mainly on charts in Billboard (USA) and later in The New Musical Express (UK). The Lifebuoy show was presented by 2ZB’s Rex Walden (pictured in the window display), who had a deep, dark chocolatey BBC type voice.
We couldn’t hope, nor did we try, to compete with the Lifebuoy show, but we had the advantage of being able to include songs recorded by New Zealand performers when they became bestsellers here but who would never have made the overseas charts.
An outstanding example of this was Between Two Trees, in the number two position for the year 1952. This American song had been recorded by the Andrews Sisters in the USA, but was only a minor success. However, a cover version recorded for the New Zealand Stebbing Recording label by Auckland singer Esme Stephens went viral (as they say) in her homeland. It reportedly sold well over 7,000 copies – quite remarkable for that time. It was accompanied by “the guitars of Buddy Kane”.
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision has recently acquired from RNZ popular music charts dating from 1956 – 1998. Sales and popularity data have long been used to create various music chart programmes, with the first “Hit Parade” broadcasting in 1946.
The “Lifebuoy Hit Parade” began broadcasting nationally in 1946 on ZB stations each week. Records were selected from the USA and UK music charts, plus recent music releases.
Listen to an unidentified announcer advertising Lifebuoy soap during the “Lifebuoy Hit Parade,” 1947: