Spectrum 378, Spectrum 379, Spectrum 380 and Spectrum 381. The Scrimgeour story

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Tono kōrero mai

Spectrum was a long-running weekly radio documentary series which captured the essence of New Zealand from 1972 to 2016. Alwyn Owen and Jack Perkins produced the series for many years, creating a valuable library of New Zealand oral history.

A four part programme in which Colin Scrimgeour – “The Scrim”, so familiar to an older generation, returns to the microphone to talk about his long and extraordinary career.

Who is Scrim? Only a younger age group will ask that question. He was an Auckland City Missioner in the leadup to the great depression of the 1930s. The most unconventional Methodist Minister this country had ever produced. By far the most effective broadcaster in New Zealand with his programmes The Friendly Road on 1ZB and The Man In The Street session. He was a friend of Michael Joseph Savage and had a bitter feud with Peter Fraser that lead to his dismissal as Chief Executive of the Commercial Division of the New Zealand Broadcasting Service. He then worked in Australia and China. Colin Scrimgeour had a huge effect on broadcasting and social development in New Zealand, and is now in retirement in the Auckland suburb of Titirangi.
These four programmes have been compiled from a long series of archival recordings made by Television New Zealand in collaboration with Radio New Zealand.

Colin tells Alwyn Owen about his early life. Living on the Te Kooti Trail at Opowiti.
How his father forgot what name he was supposed to register Colin as. He talks about his father and mother and how cancer took them both.
He describes working 2 shifts at the Waipa freezing working while running a billiard room for Lin Robertson, a famous boxer. He tells of visiting a church in Paekakariki with a parson and that being his first time in a church. He tells Alwyn how he became a Methodist Minister and ended up at the Auckland City Mission, and some of the unconventional things he did.
Alwyn gives a brief history of and impact of radio in the 1920s.
Colin tells how he got into radio and working for Tom Garland on 1YA (a children’s programme) and 1ZR (a morning devotions programme lead by various clergymen taking turns). He tells of buying 1ZB from Charles Pearson and came to head the federation of what was called the “B” stations, and of his shows “The Friendly Road” and “The Man In The Street”. He tells of the jamming of his broadcast before the 1935 general election and the fallout from it. Colin was good friends with Michael Joseph Savage when Savage first broadcast parliament and set up the National Broadcasting Service.
Colin describes his falling out with Peter Fraser and the sequence of events that lead up to him leaving New Zealand for Australia on the 8th December 1944.
Colin tells of his newspaper work in Australia and his purchase and running the Pagewood film studio in Sydney, and of his involvement in the early stages of television in Australia.
In 1958, Colin was invited to China to advise on the introduction of television there and he describes his involvement.
Colin returned to New Zealand in February 1968 to a warm welcome.

Produced by Alwyn Owen.

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Request information

Year 1982

Reference number 21611

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Genre Biographical radio programs
Radio programs
Sound recordings

Credits RNZ Collection
Scrimgeour, Colin Graham (b.1903, d.1987), Interviewee
Radio New Zealand. National Programme (estab. 1964, closed 1986), Broadcaster

Duration 02:08:02

Date 25 May 1982

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