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Living in a bush camp

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Living conditions in a typical bush camp were crowded. Often a gang of men slept and ate in one large hut. Around the edge were two tiers of bunks, while a large table dominated the centre of the room. As well as being used for meals, it was a place to play cards, read, write letters and talk.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Pou outside Waitomo

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This pou (supporting post) from Waitomo represents Tāne, god of the forest. The god was often acknowledged by Māori when they took resources from the forest. Listen to the karakia (incantation), which was said to lift the tapu from a house built from Tāne’s wood. Its purpose was to ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Erebus recovery operation

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Eight Federated Mountain Club volunteers helped recover bodies after an Air New Zealand DC10 crashed on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, in November 1979. Their skills in mountain rescue were needed because of the site’s icy conditions and crevasses. Hugh Logan, one of the team, recalls the operation...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Protesting at Pureora

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

In order to stop the logging of virgin forest at Pureora, protesters perched in the trees with camping gear in 1978. They received widespread public support. Listen to local MP Ian Shearer expressing his concern over the logging plans. Sound file from

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Blackberry patch

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Listen to George Paul of Te Awamutu talk about the introduction of blackberries to the King Country. Blackberries were first noticed growing wild in New Zealand in 1899. Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Winter stars

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

To some tribes the new year in mid-winter was signalled by the dawn rising of Matariki (the Pleiades), while to others it was the rising of Puanga (Rigel). Takurua (Sirius) was also associated with winter. Along with other stars, Matariki, Puanga, and Tautoru (Orion's Belt) were important in the ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Cicada song

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Listen to the song of the cicada or kihikihi, which conjures up images of hot summer days. The cicada and cricket were described as the song birds of the ‘summer’ star Rehua (Antares), because their song heralded the arrival of warmer weather. Sound file from

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Pōhā (kelp)

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Traditional pōhā (kelp bags encased in tōtara bark) are used to store the harvested tītī chicks. Bob Whaitiri talks about pōhā. Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Pick-and-shovel mining

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

These West Coast miners from the end of the 19th century pause in their labours. The traditional technique for extracting coal, which miners brought from Britain, depended entirely on muscle power. Miners chopped out coal with picks and then shovelled it into waiting carts. In the sound file, a ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Impact of the Murchison earthquake

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Most of the roads close to Murchison were impassable after the earthquake. The figure surrounded by fallen blocks gives an idea of how difficult travel was. Sound file: Len Hutchings and Mrs ? Nelson, interview by Jim Henderson for 'Open country no. 82,' 1964 (2'50

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Reporting the Tangiwai disaster

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

With 151 people killed and many injured, the rail accident at Tangiwai on 24 December 1953 was one of New Zealand’s worst disasters. Because the following day was Christmas Day, there were no newspapers, but on 26 December they devoted their issues to the tragedy. This radio interview is ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Evacuation in Whakatāne

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

On 26 May 1960, three days after a tsunami from an earthquake in Chile caused damage along the New Zealand coast, a radio message warned that a tsunami from a major aftershock of that earthquake was about to hit the coast. These cars are jamming Hillcrest Road on the hillside above Whakatāne, ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Drying fish

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This 1843 watercolour, by an unknown artist, depicts Māori drying fish on poles. The fish appear to be mainly barracouta, with a few rays and snapper. Māori were not preservationists; they conserved resources so that they could use them in the future. Fishing pressure may have affected fish ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Caravans

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

From the 1930s, caravans became a popular way to have a break at the beach. These caravans are parked at a beach near Te Kaha on the East Coast in the late 1970s. In the sound file, people talk in 1977 about the appeal of a caravan holiday. Sound file from

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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Graduate Choir

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The Graduate Choir was established in 2001 from former students of Aorere College and comprises 35 singers. Most have recently graduated from apprenticeship choirs, and are beginning their singing careers. In this clip the choir is singing ‘Minoi Minoi...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Puysegur Point lighthouse

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Puysegur Point, in the far south-west of unpopulated Fiordland, is remote even by lighthouse standards. Frequent gale-force winds, heavy rain and sandflies added to the challenges of lighthouse life at the point, as Kevin Pennel, the last keeper, recounts in this audio clip. Sound file ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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National Party campaign booklet, 1949

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

During the 1949 election campaign, the National Party pictured itself in booklets such as this as representing the nuclear family, the ideal social unit of those years. After winning the 1949 election, National tightened its hold on power in 1951. Prime Minister Sidney Holland asked the country ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Archaeologist Bruce McFadgen

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Bruce McFadgen explains why radiocarbon dating of bones of recently dead rats from Lake Taupō has produced dates as long ago as 2,000 years ago – dates which are obviously not giving the true age of the rats. Sound file from Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Tainui hauling chant

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This karakia was allegedly chanted by the crew of the Tainui as they pulled their canoe across the 200-metre portage separating the Tāmaki River from the Manukau Harbour. The portage was a major route linking the east and west coasts. Today, as the photo of the west end of the portage ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage