1974-01-24: Most New Zealanders' first glimpse of colour television
RNZ notes the 50th anniversary of most New Zealanders' first glimpse of colour television via the broadcast coverage of the 1974 Commonwealth Games from Christchurch.
Congratulations Ian Mune
For his services to film, television and theatre Ian Mune has been made a Knight companion of New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2024 New Year Honours.
The official citation read:
Mr Ian Mune is an award-winning actor, writer and director for stage and screen, who has been a pioneer in these professions in New Zealand and has focused on telling the stories of New Zealanders in an authentic voice since the 1970s.
Mr Mune was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1991 for his services to the theatre and film industry, having worked on developing these industries as a viable profession in New Zealand.
His notable earlier film productions include co-writing seminal classics 'Sleeping Dogs' (1977) and 'Goodbye Pork Pie' (1981) and directing 'Came a Hot Friday' (1984). Since 1991, he has continued contributing to these industries. He directed ‘Once Were Warriors’ award-winning sequel 'What Becomes of the Broken Hearted' (1999), the coming-of-age drama 'End of the Golden Weather' (1991) and 'The Whole of the Moon' (1997). He directed the 2008 depression-era telefeature film 'Life's a Riot' and the 2011 documentary on the life of New Zealand comedian Billy T James "Billy T: Te Movie".
As an actor with more than 70 screen roles to date, he has continued to perform in a variety of film, television and theatre productions, most recently in the miniseries 'The Pact' (2021).
Mr Mune has remained connected with new generations of actors as Patron of The Actors Program since 2012.
HONOURS AND AWARDS: New Zealand Television Legend Award, 2021 Rudall Hayward Award for filmmaking, 2000 Officer of the Order of the British Empire, New Year 1991
We are destroyers rather than hoarders of our past...
Recently discovered this passage in Joanne Dryton's Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love (pg9) that stopped me in my tracks as she perfectly sums up the fate of so much of New Zealand's television output, and sadly there is little evidence that even present day productions will fare any better.
Sadly, today, there is very little left of the 300 programmes Hudson and Halls made during their 11 years on New Zealand television: just a handful of complete shows, some film excerpts shot in the late 1970s, a few interviews and some Telethon footage. The duo's sparse representation in our film and television archive is an indictment on our capacity to recognise what is great and value it. We are destroyers rather than hoarders of our past: Kiwis let go of their treasures too easily. The consequence of historical amnesia is a present that lacks wisdom and self- knowledge.
How many New Zealand archival TV shows have been digitally preserved?
TVNZ archive titles would be a subset of the figures for 2019 onwards which record all audio visual material processed. As the TVNZ material has often been categorised as "at risk" we might safely assume that they make up a majority of titles being preserved each year.
The 2022/23 figures are a welcome jump in progress in the project to have 200,000 at risk tapes digitalised by 2025.
New Zealand's "Lost" TV Shows?
A visitor to the site asked how rare the material in his collection of old beta tapes might be; sadly the answer is that any home recordings of local tv shows from back when domestic beta recorders were available - 1975 to around 2002 - might be very rare indeed.
NZ shows were not distributed to other countries in other formats and we didn't have home VCRs until into the 1980s, so no one is sure how much local TV from back then still exists on a tape somewhere. This post from the Mutcat forum gives a good idea of the conditions that applied for TV recordings in local TV stations back in the day:
Subject: RE: BBC Treasure Hunt
From: Little Robyn
Date: 12 Nov 10 - 03:11 PM
Chris, at Channel One, NZBC, in the 60s and 70s, videotape was expensive (2inch wide) and at 15ips, a half hour programme on a metal spool was heavy and took up lots of space.
So unless a producer said "Keep that one" (in which case someone had to find storage space) after a certain period of time the videotape room was instructed to ERASE the tape and put it back in the shelves to use again. Some of the news or sports stuff that they wanted for the archives, was fed through the Telerecorder and a black and white film was made - usually very grainy and of lousy quality.
The methods of recording used today were only a dream then.
I'm sure BBC had the same problems. If a programme was done on film, there was a solid copy, but if it was a studio programme on VT, the tapes were usually wiped. (Except for Wn3366 which I kept hidden behind #1)
Robyn ex WNTV1 VT and Telecine operator, 1968 - 1973
The issue of just what happened to tapes was the subject of an interesting article in 2023: Why is there no recorded footage of NZ Hall of Fame inductees Larry's Rebels?
Sadly even with the exposure of some archival material during the celebration of fifty years of TV in New Zealand in 2010 and on the HeartlandTV (2010-2015) channel there hasn't been any great public interest in getting access to the older shows or any strong commercial interest in exploiting the material that does still exist, but if you do happen to have any old New Zealand TV shows on film, beta, VHS, audio cassette, script form, or any other related documents or ephemera please do get in touch so those of us who have an interest can enjoy them.
I know that here in the UK there has been a joint effort between interested parties to try and track TV material down via the Raiders of the Lost Archives List in a similar way to the NZ film archive's film search campaign from several years ago.
I've sent e-mails out to folk I've dealt with in the past asking if there is any coordinated approach between TVNZ, The Film Archive and other interested parties to document which New Zealand shows are missing thought lost (no copies held in archives), and how they might encourage folk to do something with their old off air recording.
Sadly TVNZ never replied.The folks from the film archive and NZ on screen did, saying there's no coordinated approach to the issue, but there was interest in pursuing the idea.
Televison archives and schedules for New Zealand
The folks at the UKTV focused Mausoleum Club Forum were chatting about where copies of old UK TV shows might be hiding in archives around the world and how to find out what screened in particular countries. I gave them my suggestions for where tapes and information live in New Zealand as follows:
ngataonga.org.nz - New Zealand’s audiovisual archive. Their purpose is to collect, care for and share the audiovisual Taonga (treasure, anything prized) of Aotearoa. They have stewardship of the Television New Zealand video archives which might include a bit of UK material but probably not a lot. Check out the Status of the collection.
The Listener was the publication of record for NZ TV broadcasts for most of 20th century. From an archival television perspective their website has always sucked, and the situation is even worse in the aftermath of their temporary closure and sale in 2020/21.
Thanks to the hard work and generosity of a fellow archival TV researcher the Listener's TV listing pages from the 1974 to 1998 are available as pdfs.
As far as I know no one has any plan to digitize full back issues so aside from the 74 to 98 listings pages any research needs to be via hard copies in a library; I've accessed copies in Auckland Library and the University of Canterbury collections. There are also some collections of the Listener in the UK llas.ac.uk/resources/ including the University of Edinburgh: discovered.ed.ac.uk.
Editions of The Christchurch Press up to 1989 have been added to the National Library’s Papers Past digital archive website which is a big help when researching screenings as The Press ran daily listings along with some reviews and promotional articles/interviews.
I "borrow" any scans of schedules I happen across on the inter-webs and put them here: TV listings through the years