Legendary filmmaker Rudall Hayward, MBE, directed seven features over five decades — decades in which the concept of Kiwi movie-making was still an oxymoron, or meant a foreigner was behind the camera. Inspired by NZ’s cross-cultural history, Hayward remade his own Rewi’s Last Stand in 1940. Later he married Rewi’s star Ramai Te Miha, and launched a filmmaking partnership that lasted until Rudall’s death in May 1974.
In New Zealand, it suddenly occurred to me, was material for film plays just as exciting and dramatic and colourful as any Hollywood western. Rudall Hayward, in a 1940 Listener article
The war is Europe is over and New Zealanders take to the streets to celebrate in this NFU newsreel. The relief and excitement at the end of hostilities against Germany is clearly visible on the faces of the thousands who flood into New Zealand's towns and cities. But Deputy Prime Minister Walter Nash reminds the crowd the war is not over: Japan has yet to surrender. That doesn't stop wild celebrations following the National Declaration of Peace. Civilians and servicemen alike enjoy the party, many looking the worse for wear "in advanced stages of celebration".
This wide-ranging documentary from 1966 looks at the past and future of television in New Zealand, (made not long after broadcasting began, in 1960). Victoria University political science lecturer Reg Harrison examines transmission challenges, local content, a second channel, private enterprise, independence from Government, transmission of live rugby, and the effects of TV’s rapid expansion on other pursuits and children. Includes interviews with privacy-keen Gordon Dryden and Rudall Hayward — plus various powers that once were, from TV and Government.
This 1945 newsreel reports on the repatriation of New Zealand prisoners held in Japanese camps during the war in the Pacific. Cameraman Stan Wemyss (grandfather of Russell Crowe) ranges across Asia with the RNZAF — from Changi in Singapore, to camps in Java (Indonesia), and Siam (Thailand). The narration notes grimly that “the movie camera does not record the stench of death”; and returned PoW, Dr Johns of Auckland, implores for the sake of the children: “that the experiences that we have gone through at the hands of the Japanese shall never, never again be possible.”
At 11am on 15 August 1945 news of Japanese surrender reached New Zealand, marking the end of the nation's six years in World War II. This newsreel records the public celebrations in windy downtown Wellington and on Auckland’s Queen St, where there are street parties, bagpipes and beer as tensions are released. At Wellington Town Hall on the second day of the public holiday, tributes are paid to “team spirit”; and Prime Minister Fraser hopes for social justice and that the dead have not died in vain. Then there is a mass rendition of ‘Land of Hope of Glory’.