Tag Archives: Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero


Peter Downes: Early Radio Recordings and Archiving in Aotearoa New Zealand

Peter Downes has had a long and distinguished association with broadcasting and sound archiving in Aotearoa. In this presentation he charts the beginnings of radio recording and archiving in this country, with personal reflections (he started in broadcasting in 1947) sprinkled with some fascinating audio excerpts dating back almost 100 years.

A very special thank you to Peter for allowing us to film his presentation and reproduce it online.

Read a transcript of Peter’s talk

Was the “real” Anzac biscuit … a gingernut?

- By Camilla Wheeler and Sarah Johnston of Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero



A 1965 radio interview held in the collection of Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero has shed light on the home-baking sent by New Zealand women to our soldiers during World War I, and the incredible baking and fund-raising efforts of one woman in particular.

On Gallipoli, food parcels from home must have been one of the few bright points in the Anzac soldier’s generally abysmal diet, which largely consisted of fatty, salty, tinned “bully beef” and rock-hard ship’s biscuits.

New Zealand families and the Red Cross organised parcels containing tinned luxuries such as condensed milk, coffee and cocoa, as well as home-made biscuits and sweets. Most famous of course, is the Anzac biscuit, and with the centenary of the 1915 Gallipoli landings fast approaching, the debate over its origins seems set to rival the Great Pavlova Debate. Continue reading

Mrs Barnard’s Gingernuts Recipe (and Sound Archives updated version)

*Read the story about Mrs Barnard’s Anzac gingernuts here.


Gingernut dough, divided and ready for rolling and baking.
Gingernut dough, divided and ready for rolling and baking.
Ingredients Mrs Barnard’s original recipe Halved (Metric) Halved (by volume) 
Plain flour 2 ¼ lb 510g 3 ½ cups
Butter ½ lb 110g ½ cup
Light brown sugar 1 lb 225g 1 ½ cups
Ground ginger 1 oz 15g 2 ½  tablespoons
Golden syrup 2 lb 454g 2 cups



  • Mrs Barnard’s original recipe would make a LOT of biscuits for the troops! We halved the quantities and still produced between 60 and 100 biscuits, depending on how large you make them.
  • If you want to avoid the need to measure out golden syrup (and getting your scales sticky) you can buy it in 500g bottles or small 454g (1lb) tins. The small tins are available in the British section of most supermarkets. However, the Chelsea Sugar website says their syrup in 1kg tins is darker and richer than both the bottled and British golden syrups.
  • If you want a hard, “dunking” gingernut biscuit that could withstand a boat trip to Gallipoli or the Western Front, bake for 15 minutes.
  • For a chewier result, reduce baking time to about 10 minutes.
  • Mrs Barnard’s biscuits were “about the size of a shilling.” The New Zealand shilling was 2.3cms in diameter, similar to the current $1 coin. We made some this size and some the more standard biscuit dimensions. Both were delicious. Continue reading

Vincent Ward, As He Was in 1990

Alex Porter (SANTK Preservation Archivist) was lucky enough to meet Vincent Ward when he received his Honorary Doctorate at The University of Canterbury recently (click here to read about her experience meeting Ward and what she took away from his talk).

After hearing Ward speak, Alex was inspired to reflect on Ward’s career as it is recorded in the Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero collection. She came across this 1990 Morning Report interview. Presenter Geoff Robinson talks to Ward about Edge of the Earth - his then in-progress book on the film industry, his New Zealand roots and their influence on his films. At this point his career was already in full swing – Ward released Vigil in 1984 and The Navigator: A Medieval Odessey in 1988. Here Ward mentions “My Father’s Hands,” a theme and iconography that has been meaningful to him across his life and career – and which would later become the title of his Honorary Doctorate speech.

Click below to the listen to the interview.

[Archival audio from Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of Copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact SANTK.]

Ward speaking during celebrations for his Honorary Doctorate.
Ward speaking during celebrations for his Honorary Doctorate.

Accession 02/030/273

- By Marie O’Connell (SANTK Preservation Archivist)

The Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero acquired this accession in 2002 and it makes up part of the Bill Beavis Collection.

What is unique about this is that it is made up of two completely different formats of analogue media – one being rare Sound Mirror paper tape developed in 1946, and the other being two lacquer discs from 1940. It is possible that Bill Beavis himself engineered this crude but very ‘kiwi’ open reel tape as he was unable to acquire an actual 10.5 inch reel.

Image: Marie O'Connell.
Image: Marie O’Connell.


Continue reading

The World According to Ward

- By Alex Porter (SANTK Preservation Archivist)

Whilst my colleagues hustled Christchurch crowds on April 14th to get their smart phone pics of the Royals in Latimer Square, I hit the arterial route to meet Vincent Ward for morning tea at Canterbury Uni. On first sight I found immediate empathy for the man who appeared a sort of overall dark and silver grey wrapped in woolly scarf and was most gratefully introduced to our Film School saviour trying to brush my insomnia, hormones and bad hair aside. Guests included Professor Simpson – Head of the School of Fine Arts in Ward’s day – whose eloquence and forthright engagement Ward acknowledged and still rather endearingly preceded him, and  Morris Askew – essentially founder and Head of Film School during Ward’s years at university and to whom he showed great respect, not to mention an array of lecturers, students, heads and bods from the Christchurch gallery (and archive) collective.

University of Canterbury


Post-quake Canterbury University has had to make some acute structural changes as they attempt to meet the expectations of the counting house. Ward’s welcome and reciprocal speech certainly served well to reframe and project a positive light on changing times. Ward applauded the University’s new umbrella, titled The School of Humanities and Creative Arts, a flagship for The School of Fine Arts, Music, Film Theory and Cultural Studies departments and a creative compilation that actively reflects current industry and enterprise, anchoring students in the real world. From where I was sitting Ward expressed a genuine enthusiasm to engage his skills, industry links and international connections in efforts to raise the university’s profile and in turn, student numbers.

To mark his Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts Ward gave a lecture titled “My Father’s Hands” later that evening, which was received with appropriate excitement and matched enthusiasm from a well attended audience. Beginning the talk with a wonderful black and white photograph and “That’s me and my dad” Ward explained how he used to constantly draw his father’s scarred, burnt hands – which were part of a major injury inflicted during his service in Syria during WWII. Ward told his father’s life story, a compelling and sad narrative of unrealised aspirations, a story he embodied in these scarred hands. Ward drew an analogy between them and the farm’s terrain, the isolated, burnt and roughed hilly landscape that was made beautiful through sheer sweat, grit and determination. Selected photographs, film stills, pre-production drawings and gallery installation documentation prompted discussion on fate, moments and cinematic motif, production tales and artistic insight into his multi-disciplinary work to date. Continue reading

One of the “Mystery Voices of Gallipoli” Identified

The hunt to try and put names to the voices of five Kiwi Gallipoli veterans recorded in “ANZAC,” a 1969 radio documentary has had some success, with the great-niece of one of the men coming forward to identify him.

Rosemary Steane heard an excerpt of the recording on Radio New Zealand’s “Morning Report” last month and realised one of the men was her great-uncle, Joseph Gasparich.

Joe was a young Auckland school teacher when World War I broke out and signed up to serve with the Auckland Infantry Battalion. He was wounded three times in the course of the war, serving not only on Gallipoli but also the Western Front, where he was eventually promoted to the rank of lieutenant, before being discharged on account of his injuries and shipped home in April 1917. Continue reading

Who Are These Mystery Voices of Gallipoli?

- By Sarah Johnston (SANTK Client Services Archivist)

Can you help us identify the voices of the five unidentified Gallipoli veterans who feature in this radio documentary?

["ANZAC" (1969). Archival audio from Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of Copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact SANTK.]

The men’s recollections of landing at Gallipoli and the brutal conditions they encountered form a powerful documentary simply called “ANZAC”, which late Napier broadcaster Laurie Swindell made in the studios of station 2ZC in Napier in January 1969.

Broadcaster Laurie Swindell (courtesy of the Swindell family)
Broadcaster Laurie Swindell (courtesy of the Swindell family)

The programme has been kept since then in the collection of Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero in Christchurch. Continue reading

SANTK Staff on Life Post-Earthquakes

This Saturday will be the three-year anniversary of the February 22, 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero main office was forced to move to new premises following the earthquake, where they remain today. SANTK Preservation Archivists John Kelcher and Marie O’Connell tell us about the effects of the earthquakes on their work and the post-quake recovery efforts.

Photo by John Kelcher.

Photo by John Kelcher.
Photo by John Kelcher.

Continue reading

Rob Muldoon’s Pineapple Whip: The ‘Personality Cook Book’ – A 1971 Snapshot of New Zealand Broadcasting, Celebrity, Social and Culinary History

- By Sarah Davy, Director, Collect [Division] Acquisition and Research, NZFA.


Being a sucker for vintage recipe books, I recently came across a slim black volume in a Murchison second-hand shop, called the Personality Cook Book. Compiled as a fundraiser for the Petone Free Kindergarten in 1971, it contains 149 ‘Favourite recipes from New Zealand’s leading personalities and the cast of Coronation Street’. Annie Walker (‘Trifle’), Len Fairclough (‘Lancashire Hot Pot’), and everyone’s favourite, the cantankerous Ena Sharples (‘Quiche Lorraine’), grace the front cover, but I was curious as to who would be among the ‘leading personalities’ 42 years ago in New Zealand. Continue reading