Tag Archives: WWII

WanganellaFilm

70 Years Ago – Wanganella Strikes Rocks in Wellington Harbour

70 years ago, on 19 January 1947, the trans-Tasman passenger liner TSMV Wanganella hit Barrett Reef in Wellington Harbour.

Coming into port at 11.30pm, the ship’s captain mistook the buoy in front of the reef for a light guiding ships into the harbour. Subsequently the ship, which was carrying 400 passengers from Sydney, stuck to the rocks.

Aerial view of the Wanganella on Barrett's Reef, Wellington. Dominion post (Newspaper): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP-Ships-Wanganella-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22700770
Aerial view of the Wanganella on Barrett’s Reef, Wellington. Dominion post (Newspaper): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP-Ships-Wanganella-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22700770

 

Fortunately, the Wanganella’s passengers were rescued the next day. Rescuing the vessel, however, was not so easy. In spite of several attempts by tugboats to unstick the ship, it remained firmly attached to the reef for 18 days.

The ship was finally freed on 6 February. This film, held in the collections of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, shows tugboats attempting to shift the vessel and eventually succeeding.

 


[WANGANELLA 1947]

Continue reading

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

USS Shaw exploding Pearl Harbor 07 Dec 1941 [public domain image - Wikimedia Commons]

“A Date that will Live in Infamy” – The 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

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

A “date that will live in infamy” is how United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt described the 7th of December 1941. This week sees the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack brought the United States into World War II and brought the war to the Pacific and New Zealand’s back yard.

 

Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the attack [Public domain image - Wikimedia Commons]
Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the attack [public domain image - Wikimedia Commons]

 

You can hear me talking to RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan about recordings from the sound archives of Nga Taonga Sound & Vision about this historic event here – or you can read more here and listen to the recordings in full at the links below. 

At the time of the bombing the United States and Japan were actively in peace talks over Japan’s war with China, with Japanese officials in Washington D.C. for negotiations. However, it soon became clear that this air attack had been carefully planned for months, so the outrage felt by the American public at the Japanese deception was immense.  

The day after the attack, President Roosevelt addressed the United States Congress and the American people in this historic radio broadcast. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision holds a recording made in Wellington at the time, from the shortwave radio broadcast, but this version supplied later – directly from the United States – is better quality audio.

 

President Franklin Roosevelt declares the United States is at war with Japan, 8 Dec 1941 (ref. 151134)

 

USS Arizona burning after the attack [public domain image - Wikimedia Commons]
USS Arizona burning after the attack [public domain image - Wikimedia Commons]

 

The following recording on this compilation tape,  is an eye witness account by a US Air Force serviceman, Lieutenant Wallace, who was at Hickham Field airforce base next door to Pearl Harbor. He describes his very brief experience of active warfare.

 

Pearl Harbor recollection by a US serviceman (ref. 151134)

 

Another eye witness account of the attack – this time from a civilian perspective – was recorded here in New Zealand a couple of months later, in early 1942, by Thomas Matthews. He was an Englishman, a violinist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He was onboard a passenger ship sailing into Honolulu on the fateful morning, on his way to take up a new role in Singapore (which was still a British colony). As he explained to New Zealand radio listeners, at first he and the rest of the passengers thought they were watching military manoeuvres. Continue reading

USPresidentsFeature

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

[Basil Clarke] in the New Zealand Players production of "Romanoff and Juliet." Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1958/2046-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22702922

Audio Curios: The Man in The White Coat

You may have asked yourself, “who is that man in the white coat who sometimes appears at the top of our blog postings … and what is he doing?”

Well, thanks to Peter Downes’ research, we know that his name is Basil Clarke and he was part of the “listening watch” during World War II.

Basil Clarke (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection).
Basil Clarke (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection).

The photograph shows Basil in the main 2YA control room in Wellington, listening to shortwave broadcasts from the BBC, allied and enemy radio stations.  The control-room was staffed 24 hours a day, and when the operator heard a newsflash or something of importance they would do a direct recording onto an acetate disc.  This disc could then be re-broadcast to radio listeners in New Zealand (this was how news of what was happening in the war on the other side of the world reached New Zealanders, in the days before the internet, television, or even tape recording technology –which didn’t come in until the mid-1950s).

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Sound Collection contains many of these wartime shortwave recordings – an example being from exactly 75 years ago, when news came through of Hitler’s proclamation that Germany would march against Soviet Russia:

New Zealand Broadcasting Service, 22 June 1941

Continue reading

Sound

Rowley Habib

Kua mate a Rowley Habib o Ngāti Tūwharetoa. He kaituhi, he kaitito rotarota, kua hoki ki ngā mātua i te pō.

We mourn Rowley Habib of Ngāti Tūwharetoa. A Māori writer and poet who pioneered Māori centred drama.

Listen to Rowley Habib reading his poem dedicated to the men of the 28th Māori Battalion, The Raw Men, in this excerpt from a radio programme from 1968:

Māori Programme, 1 May 1968

 

 

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

PeterDownes

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

Basil Clarke (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection).

Audio Curios: The Last Post

Bugler Trevor Bremner and producer Shelley Wilkinson discuss the various bugle calls that make up the “Last Post” (“Bugle Stories,” RNZ Concert, 25 April 2015).

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

 

You can hear the full series of six “Bugle Stories” here.

 

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.

Sounds of Lost Christchurch

Like many Christchurch inhabitants, our sound branch of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (then known as Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero) was forced out of its home by the earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011. The former premises at Radio New Zealand House, on the corner of Chester Street West and Durham St, were damaged and have now been demolished. The archives moved to temporary premises, where they remain today, while a new permanent home is sought. Learn more about the recovery of the collections after the 2011 earthquakes here.

Within our collection we have many recordings that capture events and everyday moments in Christchurch locations that no longer exist – or have been changed forever by the seismic activity.

ChchRadio
Mr Les Croft, a 3YA entertainer. From radio artists 3YA Christchurch leather photo album.

 

Spectrum – A Kind of Square Programme (1987)

Christchurch Cathedral dominates the Square, but it’s the people who congregate there who make it the living hub of Christchurch. Jack Perkins explores Cathedral Square and the many characters who call it home. This programme won a Mobil Radio Award. Duration: 27′35″, ref. 5318.


 

Christchurch city cinema promotion (1953)

All seven of the inner-city movie theatres mentioned by Cookie Moyle in this 1953 promotional recording have now disappeared from the CBD. Duration: 1′25″, ref. 22138.


 

  Continue reading

“Hello Children” – Broadcasts to the British Child Evacuees of World War II

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

Evacuees to New Zealand, 1940. (The National Archives UK DO 131/15
)
Evacuees to New Zealand, 1940.
(The National Archives UK DO 131/15
)

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Radio Collection contains hundreds of recordings made during World War II. The best known are the many discs recorded by the staff of the National Broadcasting Service Mobile Unit, who travelled with New Zealand forces. From North Africa, Italy and through the Pacific… the mobile unit was there, recording interviews, messages home and special programmes, such as the much-loved concerts by members of the Māori Battalion.

Back home in New Zealand, the National Broadcasting Service was monitoring the shortwave radio broadcasts from overseas. A 24-hour “listening watch” was maintained in the control room of station 2YA in Wellington, staffed by a broadcasting technician and equipped with disc recorders (tape recording technology would only arrive in the 1950s.)

Basil Clarke on listening watch at 2YA during World War II, recording an in-coming broadcast.    (Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection)
Basil Clarke records an incoming broadcast while on listening watch.
(Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection)

Anything of interest could be immediately recorded on disc for local re-broadcast. Many of these recordings survive in our collection. Often they are news bulletins, telling the world of historic events such as the fall of Singapore or the Battle of Arnhem. But these recordings also captured poignant personal communications and stories of the war-time experience, such as these two excerpts of a bittersweet little programme called “Hello Children”:

[Archival audio from the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of Copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact sound@ngataonga.org.nz]

 

“Hello Children” was aimed at the 3,000-odd British children who had been evacuated overseas at the start of the war. The two episodes we’ve shared above were transmitted in the BBC’s Pacific Service to New Zealand on the 22nd of February and 6th of May 1942.

When France fell to the Nazis in May 1940 and the Allies were evacuated from Dunkirk, fears of a German invasion became very real to Britons. Wealthier families were able to pay to send their children to live with overseas friends and family members. American companies such as Kodak and Ford set up schemes to evacuate the children of their British employees to the United States. The public soon demanded that overseas evacuation to be made available to families from all walks of life. In response, the Children’s Overseas Reception Board (CORB) scheme was established by the British government in June 1940. Continue reading