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Barrie Devenport after his Cook Strait swim

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

On 20 November 1962 Barrie Devenport made history as the first person in modern times to swim Cook Strait. He is shown here, soon after making it to the South Island, flanked by support swimmers from the Worser Bay Life Saving Club. This radio coverage is of the last moments of his swim. ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Helicopter wreckage

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This Jetranger helicopter crashed into the sea at Anaura Bay, north of Gisborne, in June 1989. It was carrying a film crew, including television presenter Paul Holmes. Appalling weather, encroaching darkness and poor visibility forced the pilot to follow the coastline at low altitude, and when he...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Puysegur Point lighthouse

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The work of a lighthouse keeper was taxing and monotonous. Before the lights were electrified, the regular routine involved watching the light, pumping fuel, and winding up the weights that powered the lenses. But at some lighthouses the physical conditions...

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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Complaints about the food

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The quality of food provided for the crew often depended as much on the cleanliness of the vessel as the skill of the cook. Listen to Wally Caldwell describe the inadequate diet he endured on pre-war coal-burning vessels. Sound file from Radio New...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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The revolutionary Southern Cross

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Shaw Savill & Albion’s 20,204-ton Southern Cross was the glamour cruiser of the post-war liners. Everything about her was revolutionary. Until then the liners on the New Zealand run had carried a mixture of passengers and cargo. They looked like the Gothic-class ship seen ...

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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Fossil of baleen whale

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

There are well-preserved fossils of early whales in New Zealand which help document their evolution from land-based mammals. The Waitaki valley in north Otago is especially rich in such fossils. This fossil of a baleen whale, found in the nearby Awamoko valley, is about 26 million years old. The ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Murchison earthquake road damage

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

These fissures in a country road near Murchison show some of the damage wrought on transport routes by the 1929 Murchison quake. Len Hutchins experienced the quake, and his recollections were recorded by Jim Henderson in this 1964 interview. Sound file: Len Hutchings, interview by Jim ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Godwits at Miranda

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

These godwits (kūaka) are congregating on the beach at Miranda. They have flown nonstop from Alaska and must feed intensively on arrival. Listen to a flock of godwits calling. Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Dunedin pipe band

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Dunedin was settled by Scots and was soon known as New Zealand’s Scottish city. This image continued to resonate in the 20th century. Here the Dunedin Ladies’ Scottish Pipe Band march past the city’s medical school in 1947. Listen to David Eggleton evoke the city’s ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Kathy Dunstall, Howard League activist

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Kathy Dunstall has been secretary of the Canterbury branch of the Howard League for Penal Reform for many years, and is a major spokesperson for the League. Listen to an extract from a June 2010 radio interview about her work as an advocate for prisoners' rights. Dunstall highlights the ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Romanian children in New Zealand

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Sam, Emma and Elsie, seen at a Wellington play group in 1992, were born in Romania and adopted by New Zealanders. Listen to Department of Social Welfare advisor Paula Dickens talk about the criteria prospective parents need to meet before adopting a child from another country. Sound file ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Unemployed women, 1930s

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This 1932 march of unemployed people through Christchurch is led by women. Elsie Locke, then Elsie Farelly, belonged to the unemployed women's movement in the 1930s. Here she recalls women's part in the movement, and why they organised separately from men. Sound file from

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Dame Anne Salmond

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Listen to this clip from a 2000 radio interview with the Pākehā cultural go-between Dame Anne Salmond. As a teenage university student in Auckland, Salmond met East Coast elders Eruera and Amiria Stirling, who accompanied her to the Māori ceremonial gatherings that formed the subject...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Buzz O'Bumble

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Radio shows have been a popular source of entertainment for children since the mid-20th century. Wellington radio DJ Lindsay Yeo headed a family show on Radio 2ZB in the 1970s and 1980s. He created a cast of characters who appeared on the show and at children's events. Listen to a ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Bombing Bertie the germ

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

'Bertie the germ' was a constant focus of attention in Department of Health advertisements aimed at children in the 1940s and 1950s. Cleaning your teeth and eating fresh fruit and vegetables were a way of keeping Bertie the germ at bay and avoiding tooth decay. In this poster, developed by ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Band of Hope temperance pledge

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Temperance – avoiding alcoholic drink – was a central feature of New Zealand Methodism until the mid-20th century. One of the organisations promoting temperance was the Band of Hope, whose members signed a pledge to 'abstain from all intoxicating liquors'. This magnificent certificate...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Uncle Scrim

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Colin Scrimgeour, known as 'Uncle Scrim', was a Methodist missioner whose Friendly road radio programme was hugely popular during the economic depression in the early 1930s. This 1931 cartoon by Gordon Minhinnick shows him as a rather cunning angel. Listen to Uncle Scrim talking about the ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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US–Kiwi relations

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Generally, United States soldiers based in New Zealand during the Second World War were welcomed. When the line between flirting and having sex was crossed and the soldier got VD, efforts were made to trace the woman or women involved. Listen to a nurse talk about working as a contact ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage