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Kia ora e hoa, in this pānui we find out why our film preservationists make the choices they do, and hear what some kids think of Len Lye’s films. We also share a very special project about women’s suffrage and explain how thinking outside the box can help solve a research mystery.

Invisible work on 'PATU!'

A film preservationist inspecting film.

Inā te nui o ngā mahi i whakaotia e te hunga rokiroki kiriata o Ngā Taonga mō PATU!, te tino pakipūmeka porotēhe e pā ana ki te Tāpoinga Springbok 1981. Ka toroa e tēnei kōrero te kaupapa rokiroki i arotake i ngā whakaaro i arataki i te pakipūmeka. I mahia te kiriata nei ānō nei he riwha, kia rite ki tā ngā kaimātakitaki i kite ai i taua wā.

The Ngā Taonga film preservation team did a huge amount of work on PATU!, the definitive protest documentary covering the 1981 Springbok Tour. This story explores that preservation project and reflects on the philosophy that guided it. We work on the film in a way that is invisible, to create something that is as close as possible to what the original audience would have seen.

Working on PATU!

Kids review Len Lye’s films

Len Lye with 'King of Plants Meets First Man'.

The vibrant and energetic films of Len Lye are a delight to viewers young and old. With our new Free Radical: Len Lye at 120 exhibition, we wanted some fresh opinions, so got children to review some of his films. If you have younger whānau who’d like to share their thoughts on a film in this collection, please send them through! Send short reviews or artwork to

Children x LL

'Hot Words and Bold Retorts'

Lucy Lawless in 'Hot Words and Bold Retorts'.

Nā Kahurangi Gaylene Preston tēnei kiriata poto, i tohua e ia ngā tino kiripuaki hei kaipōti wāhine e mahara ana i te pōtitanga o te tau 1893. Ka whakamahia ngā oro a ngā pūranga, ka puta ngā kanohi o Lucy Lawless, o Miranda Harcourt me ētahi, i mahia mō te whakaaturanga a Tāmaki Paenga Hira Are We There Yet? i te tau 2018.

This special and clever short film has Dame Gaylene Preston directing an all-star cast that portrays woman voters recalling the 1893 election. It uses audio from our archives and stars Lucy Lawless, Miranda Harcourt and others, and was made for Auckland Museum’s Are We There Yet? exhibition in 2018.

Hot Words

Cracking an audio mystery

Disc capturing the Opening Ceremony of the Invercargill RSA.

In this blog from 2015, audio conservator Sandy Ditchburn explains how she used all her research tricks – and a bit of local knowledge – to track down some details when cataloguing an audio record. It’s a great example of the work that goes into identifying just one item for posterity.

Audio mystery

80 years of the National Film Unit

Brosco and children from 'Letter By Robot' (1960). Courtesy Archives New Zealand

Our friends at Archives New Zealand have launched an online exhibition commemorating the 80th anniversary of the National Film Unit (NFU). As the government studio, the films of the NFU are kept by Archives. Alongside some never-before-seen films that have been digitised, learn about the history of the Unit and what Archives are doing to preserve these treasures for future generations.

80 years of NFU

100 years of radio in New Zealand

To celebrate the centenary of New Zealand’s first radio broadcasts on 17 November 1921, join sound history researcher Sarah Johnston in listening to the sounds of 100 years ago. This presentation includes recordings from our archives, and memories of those early broadcasts as well as her current research into New Zealand’s World War II radio Mobile Units.

This event will be held in the National Library auditorium in Wellington, at 6pm on 17 November, RSVP required. The event will be hosted by Kim Hill and will be recorded for broadcast as a Smart Talk at 7pm on 21 November on RNZ National.

100 years of radio

Annual report

We’ve just released our Annual Report for 2020/21. You can read this and other corporate documents here.

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All images from the collections of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, except where noted:
1) A film preservationist inspecting film.
2) Len Lye with King of Plants Meets First Man. Portrait by Erik Shiozaki. S5912
3) Lucy Lawless in Hot Words and Bold Retorts. Courtesy Dame Gaylene Preston.
4) Disc capturing the Opening Ceremony of the Invercargill RSA.
5) Still from Letter By Robot, R24041454. Courtesy Archives New Zealand
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