Merry Christmas

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

’tis the season, we’re getting into the Christmas spirit with some audio excerpts from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Sound Collection.


Clip 1: White boots, a red coat with an ermine trim and a hat with a bell… one of Wellington’s early Father Christmases, 85 year old Mr Parks, talks about becoming a department store Santa in 1905, when he was hired by the D.I.C. department store on Lambton Quay. (Ref. 148010)

Clip 2: The sounds and smells of a South Island beech forest are beautifully evoked by novelist Dame Ngaio Marsh in this wonderful description of Christmas camping in the bush, just before World War I. (Ref. 1474)

Glentui, Canterbury, looking down creek with trees on either side. The Press (Newspaper) :Negatives. Ref: 1/1-009860-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
The forest where Dame Ngaio Marsh camped. Glentui, Canterbury, looking down creek with trees on either side. The Press (Newspaper): Negatives. Ref: 1/1-009860-G. Alexander Turnbull Library.

Clip 3. The Christmas carol “Tūpono Mai – While Shepherds Watched”, sung in Māori and English by the children of Hiruhārama School, just outside Ruatōrea in 1939. Their school choir became quite famous from the 1930s onwards for the quality of their singing. Prime Minister Peter Fraser visited the school when he was Minister of Education, and was so impressed he arranged for the children to go to Wellington to make some recordings and radio broadcasts, which he thought would be useful for other schools to hear. (Ref. 30000)

Audio excerpts from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Radio Collection, all rights reserved. To enquire about re-use of these items please contact

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