Tag Archives: 2010s


Te Matatini 2017

- By Lawrence Wharerau (Kaiwhakataki: Programme Coordinator, Māori, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Every two years the crème de la crème of kapa haka artists put their reputations on stage and on show. Dubbed the Olympics of traditional Māori performing arts, Te Matatini is an essential biannual booking in many Māori calendars.

This year’s festival (Feb 23-26) was hosted by Ngāti Kahungunu, at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Sports Park. The event ran across four days, with 47 teams of 40 members each competing in pool rounds for the first three days. The finals on the last day then featured the top three performing groups from each pool.

The competition was fierce and the performances even more so, as groups competed for the auspicious and highly coveted Duncan MacIntyre trophy presented to the overall winner.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision's tent at Te Matatini 2017.
Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s tent at Te Matatini 2017. (Image: Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga)


Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision were invited to have a presence in the corporate sponsors area by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Manatū Taonga along with Creative New Zealand. As Kaiwhakataki – Programme Coordinator, Māori, I curated a number of screening programmes to be played out on a large monitor in the tent we shared with MCH and CNZ. Pou Ārahi for Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, Honiana Love, also attended as part of the archive’s work developing iwi relationships. Continue reading


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


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

Young Hercules

By Zak Reddan (Ngā Taonga Cataloguer / Researcher)

Did you know Young Hercules, the title character in the 1998-99 TV series filmed in New Zealand, was played by a teenaged Ryan Gosling?

The US series was the second spin-off from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995-9), following Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001).

In scripted banter with his The Nice Guys (2016) co-star Russell Crowe at the 4th Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, Gosling referred to his time here: “I lived in New Zealand for, like, two years. I’m sweet as, bro.”

Young Canadian Ryan Gosling in Young Hercules. Image: (Image: Wikipedia).
Young Canadian Ryan Gosling in Young Hercules. Image: Wikipedia.

Pity he grows up to be Kevin Sorbo.

Some episodes of Young Hercules are available for viewing in our Wellington medialibrary (see Episode 44 – Home for The Holidays and Episode 46 – Herc’s Nemesis).


International Business Times, “Ryan Gosling Mistakes New Zealand For Australia In Hilarious AACTA Awards Skit with Russell Crowe,” 30 January 2015.

Kaikoura feature

Difficult Country – Kaikoura’s Tenuous Road and Rail Links

- By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Coordinator – Radio, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Morris Minor car, Kaikoura Coast Road, Hundalee Hills, Marlborough 1950. Whites Aviation Ltd. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22853922
Morris Minor car, Kaikoura Coast Road, Hundalee Hills, Marlborough 1950. Whites Aviation Ltd. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22853922


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.


Star, Issue 7257, 19 November 1901. Courtesy Papers Past.
Star, Issue 7257, 19 November 1901 (courtesy Papers Past)


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.


Interview with Albert Creed from Canterbury Pilgrimage No 23 Waiau (3YA Christchurch, 1950)


View of the Clarence Bridge under construction, Main Trunk Line, Marlborough. 1940. Evening Post newspaper http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23120313
View of the Clarence Bridge under construction, Main Trunk Line, Marlborough. 1940. Evening Post newspaper http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23120313


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.

Aerial Shots of Kaikoura Coast Road Construction (Ministry for Public Works, 1939) 

Continue reading


US Presidents – The Kiwi Connection

With the results from the United States presidential election due to start coming in later today, we thought it a good time to take a look back at New Zealand’s previous Presidential encounters, as they have been captured in recordings held in the Sound Collection of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

American President Lyndon Baines Johnson shaking the hand of Clem Thorn, aged five years, while he sits on his father's shoulders amongst the crowd at Wellington Airport. Photographed by an Evening Post staff photographer on the 20th of October 1966. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23083703
American President Lyndon Baines Johnson shaking the hand of Clem Thorn, aged five years, while he sits on his father’s shoulders amongst the crowd at Wellington Airport. Dominion Post (Newspaper) : Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP/1966/4545-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23083703


The first visit to our shores by an incumbent US leader was by Lyndon Johnson in 1966. He came to office after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963. That event shocked the world – and most New Zealanders who were alive at the time can probably still remember where they were when the news broke. Here is New Zealand’s Prime Minister at the time, Keith Holyoake, addressing the country on the tragedy:


New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation recording of Keith Holyoake (November 1963)


After the assassination of President Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in , and he paid New Zealand flying visit in 1966, primarily to shore up our support for the increasingly unpopular war in Vietnam.

It was a whirlwind 24 hour visit to Wellington, with a welcome at the airport, a motorcade through the capital and an official lunch at Parliament, while Mrs Johnson toured Wellington’s Botanic Gardens and Cable Car. Continue reading


Michael Nicholson

- By Jane Paul (Community Programme Manager, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

At the age of 100, video artist, painter and sculptor Michael Nicholson has written a book! Due to be published by Steele Roberts Aotearoa in November, Visual Language Games documents his life’s work.

Download this flyer from Steel Roberts Aotearoa to learn more about the book.

In 2008, the Film Archive (as Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision was then known) exhibited Michael’s Visual Music Project, stages 1, 2 and 3 (pictured above). This production used the raw material from his 1977 work, using a Scanimate video synthesiser which – interfaced with a computer – added colour and movement to scanned-in artworks. Read the Visual Music Project exhibition essays here.

The first stage of this project was developed while he was an artist-in-residence at an Australian College for Advanced Education. Thirty years after its inception, Michael, with assistance from archive employee Diane McAllen, edited the footage to create Visual Music Project, stages 1, 2 and 3. This work takes colour and shape to generate a symphony of colour equivalent to that of music.  Continue reading


Physics and Passchendaele

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.

Ernest Rutherford aged 21 (image: Wikimedia Commons).
Ernest Rutherford aged 21 (image: Wikimedia Commons).

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 Clock Tower building at the Christchurch Arts Centre.

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


Audio Curios: The Horses Stayed Behind

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


Recently Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision has started acquiring the arts programme Upbeat, which broadcasts every weekday on RNZ Concert. Upbeat covers a wide range of art topics, and – to my knowledge – is the only national daily radio arts programme in Aotearoa New Zealand.


"The Horses Stayed Behind," courtesy of Cat Auburn, http://www.catauburn.com
“The Horses Stayed Behind,” courtesy of Cat Auburn


A recent interview saw host Eva Radich interview Sarah McClintock from the Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui about the art work The Horses Stayed Behind. The work by artist Cat Auburn is a memorial to the thousands of horses that were transported from Aotearoa and died in Word War I. The artwork is made up of hundreds of rosettes created using horse hair sourced from across the country.

Sarah McClintock, Upbeat, 16 May 2016


Continue reading

Basil Clarke (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection).

Audio Curios: Naked – In Every Sense of The Word

Jack Tame talks to restaurateur Seb Lyall about what’s behind his new clothing optional restaurant in London. The restaurant has a waiting list of 28,000 patrons.


Newstalk ZB, 1 May 2016


This post is part of the Audio Curios series. Radio Collection Developer Gareth Watkins regularly comes across interesting, unique, and sometimes downright puzzling bits of audio during his accessioning work. He’s going to share some of these audio treasures with you in the Audio Curios series, which will be posted here on the Gauge blog frequently.