Sunday, August 02, 2009

Weekend Diversion: Old New Zealand films

Archives New Zealand has a YouTube Channel where they post some of the short films made by the National Film Unit (which I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist anymore). The films were meant to show ordinary life in New Zealand, and were pretty similar to films in other countries.

It was common in the days before television, and even in the early days of TV, for announcers to speak with a “frightfully posh” accent. They were trained to imitate English announcers, regardless of how they spoke naturally. By all accounts, the people in charge of these films, as well as radio and early television, thought the New Zealand accent was too course and even too common. They felt they were helping to raise the standards of New Zealand.

In any case, that started crumbling when the “pirates” behind Radio Hauraki started transmitting a radio station from a boat at sea, anchored just outside New Zealand’s territorial limits. Listeners started hearing real New Zealand voices, and nothing was every the same.

Today, the only English accents heard on New Zealand’s airwaves belong to people who are actually from England, and the various flavours of New Zealand accents now dominate, as they should.

I picked this film, not the most recently posted one, because it’s Sunday and a film about “little churches” seemed appropriate. Without looking it up, can you guess what year this film is from? Feel free to answer in the comments.


Anonymous said...

Anyone who likes this, might also like to know about the British version (it doesn't exist anymore) - the GPO Film Unit

Famous titles include Night Train - music by Benjamin Britten and poem by WH Auden no less!

Lots of great film-makers, animators, artists, poets etc contributed.

You can rent stuff on DVD, buy from the British Film Institute and I expect there's lots on YouTube too.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to say thanks Arthur, I had no idea NZ had one too!