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Michael Joseph Savage's victory speech, 1935

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

'Now then, ladies and gentlemen.' In the era before television, the reassuring tones of Michael Joseph Savage, the first Labour prime minister, became familiar to the entire country through radio broadcasts. On 27 November 1935, soon after Labour's historic victory in the general election, Savage...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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'Enemy alien'

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

During the Second World War people of German, Italian and Japanese descent were interned on Matiu (Somes Island) in Wellington Harbour. As German internee Charles Klinginstein explains, conditions at first were tough. However, in the last years of the war things improved and the internees ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Radio operators at Mount Etako station, Tinakori Hill, 1912

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

At the outbreak of war in 1914 the Post Office's coastal radio Morse stations were taken over by the navy. The Post Office radio operators continued to work the stations, listening for enemy Morse-code messages. The relatively small amount of radio traffic in the 1910s meant that messages could ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Beeville

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

A resident picks apples at Beeville, near Morrinsville, in a 1970s photo by Ans Westra. Founded in 1933, the anarchist community of Beeville grew out of the extended family of Ray Hansen. Honey production provided a major part of the community's income – hence the name Beeville. ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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John van Leeuwen

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

In this interview for Echo Radio, John van Leeuwen describes his experiences on emigrating to New Zealand in 1953.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Trevor Chappell bowls underarm

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Listen to the appalled reaction of radio commentators to Trevor Chappell bowling underarm on the last ball of a one-day game between Australia and New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 1 February 1981. The game was the third of a five-match series final, and each team had won one game. ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Teardrop surf ski

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Many lifesaving aids, including the surf ski, were developed first in Australia and adapted in New Zealand. In the 1930s, Don Wright of the Piha Surf Life Saving Club designed this improved, teardrop-shaped ski, which had greater lift in the bow to cope with New Zealand’s rolling waves. ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Clearing the rubble

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Men search for bodies in Napier. They had nothing more than shovels to work with as no earth-moving equipment was immediately available. Kenneth Spiller, speaking in this sound clip, was part of a group who attempted to rescue a woman trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building after the main ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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An account of the June earthquake

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Tex Charteris remembers his experience on the Wairarapa coast during the June 1942 earthquake. Damage was widespread to roads and bridges in the region. Here a member of the Home Guard stands ready to warn travellers that the bridge is impassable. Sound file: Oliver 'Tex' ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Volcanic avalanche mounds

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Most large cone volcanoes have a complex history of cone-building followed by collapse. The mounds in front of Mt Taranaki (Mt Egmont) are the remains of a huge landslide that occurred about 23,000 years ago when a large volcanic cone collapsed and spread ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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The end of the golden weather

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Bruce Mason began his famous solo play, The end of the golden weather (first performed in 1959), with the words: ‘Let me take you on a voyage into that territory of the heart that we call childhood.’ The play, which Mason performed over 1,000 times, was set on Auckland’...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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A fireman under fire

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Jim Blundell was born in Napier in 1924. In May 1943, aged 19, he got a job in the engine room of a British refrigerated cargo ship, the Port Fairy. Two months later, while the ship was sailing in convoy off Portugal with the troopships Duchess of York and California, ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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The romance of the sea

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, old salts such as this man, photographed at Wynyard Pier in Auckland around 1910, would have known the words to a few sea shanties. These work songs, sung to help lighten the hard physical labour on board, also reflected the values and experiences of ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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A Māori proverb

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Pineamine (Pine) Taiapa, pictured, was a master wood carver and an orator with extensive training in traditional knowledge. In this recording he explains to an audience of school children the background to the proverb, ‘Kia mate ururora, kei mate wheke...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Whaling at Te Kaha

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

These whales have been caught at Te Kaha. In the sound clip, Matekino Wharemate recalls his time there. An elder taught him how to tell when the whale oil in the trypot was ready: by spitting into the oil. If the oil was not ready, the spittle would settle...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Scottish settlers

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Some 800 Scottish settlers made their home at Waipū from 1854 onward, bringing with them precious mementoes such as this book of Highland music. Their leader, Norman McLeod, was charismatic and fanatical, preaching hellfire and demanding subservience from his followers. Listen to a descendant of...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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‘God defend New Zealand’

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

New Zealand is unusual in having two national anthems of equal standing – ‘God save the queen’ (or king), and the more recent ‘God defend New Zealand’. When a member of the royal family is present the former is preferred. However, increasingly on public occasions and...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Speaker of the House of Representatives

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

In 2004 the Speaker of the House of Representatives was Jonathan Hunt, photographed here beside artist Ryuzo Mishida’s portrait of him. The Speaker, who is elected by MPs, determines the proceedings of the House and keeps order. He is also responsible for parliamentary expenditure and ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Jonathan Lemalu

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Bass baritone Jonathan Fa‘afetai Lemalu is a New Zealander of Samoan descent. Since graduating from London’s Royal College of Music, where he won the gold medal in 2002, he has sung in recitals and opera in London and is fast gaining a world reputation. He is heard here performing ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Tower New Zealand Youth Choir

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Formed in 1979, the Tower New Zealand Youth Choir is pictured here at Gorizia, Italy, during its 2004 European tour. The choir has won many awards, including the title ‘Choir of the World’ at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales in 1999. Listen to the choir sing ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage