By Jane Paul
Recently Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision and Historic Places Hawke’s Bay showed a compilation of films focused on Hawke’s Bay history in MTG’s beautiful theatre in Napier.
Hero image: Sunny Napier – The Brighton of New Zealand (1929)
People started arriving an hour early, and soon the foyer was crammed with people ranging in age from 2 months to 95 years!
Fifteen-year-old Bonnie Allen – who provided musical accompaniment for the silent films – set herself up at the grand piano, and people streamed into the cinema.
The programme began with a look at the fishing industry in 1913 – a fascinating glimpse of life on the trawlers and the use of carrier pigeons to convey information about the catch back to the mainland. Sunny Napier – The Brighton of New Zealand (1929) kept the audience enthralled with scenes of old, pre-earthquake Napier.
Interestingly, Alec Douglas Lambourne’s film of the great earthquake in Hastings drew the most applause.
Amongst other gems were a 1980s promotional film for McWilliams winery and a television interview with Sir James Wattie – he has lunch with his staff, drives a Bentley and gives his views on business, monopolies, socialism and success.
After the films, the crowd gave Bonnie a standing ovation for her exceptionally fine musical accompaniment. Judging by comments of people leaving, the show was thoroughly enjoyed: “well, that was very worthwhile,” “wonderful!”, “fabulous!”, “loved it,” “when’s the next show?” We look forward to taking the Travelling Film Show on the road again soon.