Tag Archives: Porirua

Maori Battalion feature

Celebrating Christmas in the Desert, 1942

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

Silent Night – Tapu te Po (Christmas at NZ General Hospital, 1942, ref. 17321)


A recording of the carol “Silent Night” or “Tapu te Po,” sung in te reo Māori and English by men of the 28th Māori Battalion in North Africa in 1942, is one of the many Christmas taonga held in the Sound collection of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

It is part of a series of recordings made by the National Broadcasting Service’s Mobile Recording Unit, in a New Zealand military hospital.  The men singing on the recording had been wounded in the Battle of El Alamein in October and November 1942, and were gathered together by Nurse Wiki Katene (Ngāti Toa) of Porirua, to make the recording which would be broadcast back in New Zealand at Christmas. Continue reading

HildaMyNatureDiary crop

Hilda Brodie Smith

Hilda Brodie Smith, of Porirua, wrote, directed and starred in a number of rather incredible documentaries during the 1960s. Her work was so distinctive and professional that she regularly won prizes in cine club competitions.

Hilda’s films have recently been restored by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, and film conservator Richard Faulkner talks about the process in this feature by Radio New Zealand.

12 of the newly preserved films can be watched on our online catalogue, here.


Feature image: Hilda Brodie Smith, My Nature Diary (1965).


David Bowie

Like people the world over, we at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision are today mourning the passing of David Bowie.

(We even have the title of one of his hits, Sound and Vision, in our name!)

A highlight of one of his tours of New Zealand, was a visit to Takapūwāhia Marae, near Porirua, in 1983. This radio programme “Bowie’s Waiata,” about that visit, is from our Radio New Zealand collection. It was produced by Sam Coley for RNZ National.

On November 23, 1983, shortly before his first concert in Wellington, David Bowie was invited to visit Takapūwāhia Marae, the first rock star to be officially welcomed onto a marae. 25 years later, members of the Ngāti Toa iwi and music industry professionals involved in the tour look back on the event that Bowie himself called “one of the most hospitable experiences of my life.”

This programme features a unique recording of a song that Bowie wrote for the occasion entitled “Waiata,”  as well as the reaction of Bowie backing singer Frank Simms after hearing a recording of the song played back to him for the first time in 25 years.

Listen here:

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

Learn more about the programme on RNZ’s website.

Image: David Bowie photographed by Hunter Desportes in 1974. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.