NZ TV turns 50 today

May 18, 2009

New Zealand’s first television test programmes were broadcast 50 years ago today. 

 Broadcasting Minister Jonathon Coleman said it started very simply with just two hours broadcast a week and only in Auckland.

“There was no money for new programmes, so in addition to test patterns, Auckland viewers enjoyed clips from old National Film Unit newsreels and whatever free content the then New Zealand Broadcasting Service could beg, borrow or steal.”

These early experiments continued successfully, and on 28 January 1960 the government announced that it had decided to introduce television as an entertainment medium to New Zealand.

I remember stopping outside shops to watch the televisions which were set up in the windows a few years later.

Our neighbours had a TV and they invited my brothers and me to watch it on weekend evenings. Favourite programmes were Walt Disney, Lassie, Mr Ed, Flipper, Bonanza and Perry Mason. Those were all from the USA, I must have been a bit older before I was allowed to watch British programmes like The Avengers.

Local shows included Its in the Bag with Selwyn Toogood, Happen Inn and C’mon with Pete Sinclair.

I’m not sure if The South Tonight was broadcasting then or if that came later.

Our family got a TV set when I was about 14. It broadcast in black and white and introduced us to All Gas and Gaiters, A Family at War,  Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Monty Pythons Flying Circus.

Coleman points out there have been major changes in televison in the last 50 years.

“I think it would be fair to say that the average television viewer in 1959 would be utterly amazed by the quantity, quality, range and accessibility of the content New Zealanders of the 21st century take for granted.  Today we can watch high definition, colour programmes across multiple channels, both free-to-air and pay, 24 hours a day.  We can ‘time-shift’ to watch content when it suits us, skip advertisements, pause to let the cat out, mute the boring bits, add captions, and pre-record all our favourite programmes at the push of a button.”

Quantity, range, and accessibility have definitely improved but I’m not sure about the quality, especially of local programmes.

Is that because current affairs programmes like Gallery and satire like McPhail and Gadsby  were really better than anything we get today – or has hindsight improved my memory of the viewing?

UPDATE: Rob has a video of McPahil & Gadsby in the comments so we can judge for ourselves if distance has led enchantment to viewing memories.


Screen-free flights for small planes

May 18, 2009

We heard the news of the attempted hijack of the small plane flying into Christchurch last February as we were driving up to meet friends from Argentina.

They had to spend most of the day waiting in Auckland which isn’t a lot of fun after a long flight. But they found someone willing to let them use a mobile phone and gave us their new estimated time of arrival and we found enough to occupy us in Christchurch until they got there.

It was obviously upsetting for the people on the plane and I can understand flight crews being a bit nervous. But the plan to introduce screening at smaller airports was an overreaction which the government has very sensibly canned.

A 19 seater plane flies in and out of Oamaru airport.

The atmosphere is pretty relaxed, I’ve yet to use the service without meeting someone I know and not once has it concerned me that the passengers and baggage haven’t gone through security screening.

Life is full of dangers, some ought to be guarded against but sometimes the difficulty and expense of  protecting us outweighs the risks.

Security screening for small planes is such a case.

While we’re on the subject of airline security, why are pocket knives and knitting needles considered dangerous when glass bottles aren’t? If anyone wanted to hurt someone they could do it just as easily with a broken bottle as they could with many of the other things now banned from carry-on baggage.

And if we’re not trusted with sharp things, why do they trust us to turn off our mobile phones?

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog


Tora Walk walks off with prize

May 18, 2009

 

Tora Coastal Walk, a boutique Wairarapa tourism, venture won the inaugural Rural Women’s Enterprising Rural Woman Award.

The business is run by Jenny Bargh and Kiri and Kath Elworthy.

RWNZ president and one of the judges, Margaret Chapman, said passion for their business, economic success and community contribution were factors which determined the winner. Judges were also looking for businesses which couldn’t operate anywhere other than in rural areas rather than those which happened to operate there.

The award attracted 46 entries and Tora Coastal Walk  was one of three finalists.

“The business has been running for 14 years, but the women’s enthusiasm is still strong.  They live in a very special part of the country and love to share it with others.  They make a special effort to bridge the urban-rural divide, talking to their guests about what’s happening on the farm and making it a total rural experience,” says Ms Chapman.  “Attention to detail and personal touches are an important part of the Tora Coastal Walk and its success.”

Rural Women New Zealand set up the Enterprising Rural Woman Award to highlight the innovative ways women are contributing to the rural economy, and their determination to succeed in the face of the extra challenges presented by the difficulties in accessing technology and geographical location.

The winning partnership won $1500 in prize money and the opportunity to attend a BNZ Women in Agribusiness course.

The runners up were Jan Bolton of Kaingaroa Roading Contractors Ltd, from Murupara and Beverley Forrester of ‘Blackhills’, a paddock to catwalk sheep farming and designer wool operation based in Hurunui, North Canterbury.

The other two judges were Theresa Gattung of Wool Partners International and Amber Quinell from the BNZ, which was the main sponsor for the award.

Rural Women has achieved a lot through this award. It has brought positive publicity for the organisation and the finalists; it’s shown the variety of enterprises rural women are involved in and that business opportunities for women don’t stop at the town boundary.


Did you see the one about . . .

May 18, 2009

OMG you won’t believe this at Kismet Farm (the end of a saga, you need to read some earlier posts to understand it).

Mortgage madness  at Frenemy

Businesspeople, the media and double super secret background  by David Cohen at This is not a Blogpost

Serve it up Bruce  at Cactus Kate

NZX and CPL Update  at Quote Unquote and while you’re there check out Pet Airways

Beware the $1000 clock  by Adolf at No Minister

Bizarre ad aims to scare potential teen mums  at The Hand Mirror

The old days  at Lindsay Mitchell

The most distrubing blog I think I have written  at Laughy Kate (warning, not for sensitive stomachs).


Monday’s Quiz

May 18, 2009

1. Who wrote 8 Stages of Grace?

2. Who said Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question?

3. What was the first Euorpean name for the town of Wanaka?

4. How does Maori legend explain the formation of the Moeraki Boulders?

5. What does  mi casa es tu casa mean?


Benmore spillway open again

May 18, 2009

Rain and melting snow have over-filled hydro lakes so Meridian Energy has opened the spillway on Benmore Dam.

Low lake levels get blamed for rises in power prices, can we expect high levels to lead to a price fall?

benmore 1

benmore top

benmore 3

 

I didn’t have a camera with me so took these photos on my phone. Better quality shots from when the spillway was opened in Janaury are here.

There were signs warning of surface flooding at the start of the Lindis Pass when we drove home from Wanaka yesterday and there were several places where the river had crossed the road. 

We passed a sign saying road closed ahead just east of Omarama. It was open when we got there but workers were looking at washouts around the bridge over the Otamatapaio with concern.

Further down the Waitaki Valley the river flats were flooded. We’re about 20 kms from there as the crow flies, had 100 mls of rain over the weekend and it’s pouring again now.


Tractor price triggers inflation alert

May 18, 2009

Don’t tell Dr Bollard, the latest bid on the International 574 tractor for sale on TradeMe is $230,200.

A tractor that old – I think it must be 30ish, would normally sell for about $5,000.

The farm which is being thrown in to the deal for free has a QV of $250,000.

The auction has attracted world-wide interest and the vendors have opted to reply to every question and comment. As I write, there have been 132,168 page views, which I think is a TradeMe record.


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