Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is the brand name for the New Zealand Archive of Film, Television and Sound Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua Me Ngā Taonga Kōrero. The archive was formed by the amalgamation of three of New Zealand's major audiovisual archives: the New Zealand Film Archive Ngā Kaitiaki O Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua, Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero, and the Television New Zealand Archive. Between 2012 and 2014 the New Zealand Film Archive and the Sound Archives were integrated, and launched as Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision in August 2014. Also in August 2014, the Television New Zealand Archive was transferred from the broadcaster to The Ministry for Culture and Heritage - it is now managed on a day-to-day basis by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.
We are excited to bring New Zealand's film, television and radio collections together at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, where they will be cared for by our specialist staff. Together they will tell richer stories about our country and its peoples.
Our name, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, represents a continuity between past and present. It draws from the names of the organisations that came together to form this new integrated archive. It also reflects our commitment to New Zealand's cultural heritage, the people and places recorded in our collections, the histories and stories told, and the collection objects themselves - all as types of taonga (or treasure). Our logo, with its takarangi double spiral, evokes a waka huia - a box for storing a person's most prized possessions - while also visually echoing various types of sound and vision: an eye, an ear, a film reel, transmission waves, or a record spinning.
This website, formerly the Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero website, is primarily devoted to Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision's sound collections. The archive holds a diverse collection of audio items, most of which are held at our Christchurch branch, where the majority of our sound archiving takes place.
The earliest item of radio sound held in the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision archives is part of the commentary by Alf Cantor on the rugby test between the British Isles and New Zealand played at Carisbrook, Dunedin, in 1930. This survived only because it had been recorded on a primitive sound-on-film device invented by local cameraman Jack Welsh. Radio did not have recording equipment until 1935 and the earliest genuine radio items in the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collections date from that year.
Our latest recording is happening right now. We regularly record programmes from different radio stations, and continually monitor news stations for breaking stories.
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision staff index and convert historic recordings to newer formats, and select current broadcasts to add to the collections. This resource is available for research, education, exhibits and film, television and radio productions.
We operate on a not-for-profit basis, but there is a cost involved in accessing our collection. These charges go towards maintaining the archive and our work preserving New Zealand's audiovisual heritage.
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is New Zealand's only specialist archive of contemporary and historical radio programmes. The various collections offer unique insights into New Zealand's social, economic and political development. The recordings give resonance to New Zealand history and offer exciting opportunities to enhance and expand the cultural identity of our nation.
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is an independent charitable trust overseen by a Board of Trustees representing archival, Māori and community interests. The archive's constitution and kaupapa express a commitment to collecting, protecting and connecting New Zealand's audiovisual heritage with the widest possible audience. The archive is standards-based, collaborative and audience-focused - these values are intrinsic to our organisation's structure.
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is a bicultural organisation built on te Tiriti O Waitangi. All staff are committed to upholding the principles of the Treaty. In particular, our Tāha Māori department actively develops relationships with whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori organisations who have significant deposits to ensure appropriate long-term care of and access to these materials.
Radio broadcasting started in New Zealand on 17 November 1921 with a broadcast by Professor Robert Jack, Professor of Physics at Otago University, Dunedin.
Recording capability was not acquired until 1935, by which time radio was very firmly established as a source of entertainment and information. During the following thirty years radio broadcasting in this country was almost entirely state-owned. This circumstance has resulted in Radio New Zealand's archive collection being the sum total of the surviving audio record of radio in that period. While this has resulted in a preponderance of archival material originating with RNZ and its predecessors, there are also significant holdings representing other broadcasters, such as Radio Hauraki.
During the latter half of the 1930s the so-called "Special Library" was set up at Head Office, Wellington. A decision by the New Zealand Broadcasting Service (NZBS) led to the establishment of Sound Archives as a separate unit in Timaru in 1956. Programme material including the "Special Library," consisting mainly of direct cut 16" acetate discs and the then-new open reel analogue tapes, was transferred from Wellington to Timaru. During this era the archives were in the care of Asquith ("Tommy") Thomson and later Jim Sullivan.
The lack of space for expansion and problems with the location led to the archives' move in 1992 to inner-city Christchurch. This move, and the outfitting of the new premises in the space previously home to the 3ZB recording studios in Kent House, was overseen by Stephen Riley.
Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit entity, wholly owned by non-commercial public radio network Radio New Zealand and separately funded by the Broadcasting Commission (NZ On Air) to act as a national broadcast radio archive. The Sound Archives were were generously supported by Radio New Zealand under the provisions of the RNZ Charter.
The Sound Archives collections were formed by the amalgamation of two separate units within Radio New Zealand, the general archive collection, held in Christchurch, and the Māori programme archive, held in Auckland. The core of the archives consists of Radio New Zealand's historical collection, which dates as a separate entity from 1956. This is comprises 14,000 lacquer discs, 20,000 open reel tapes, 10,000 analogue and digital tape cassettes and a large collection of supporting documentation, artifacts and photographs.
The Sound Archives were a non-profit entity, prescribed by regulation under Section 90 of the Copyright Act 1994. This for the first time permitted the archiving of radio broadcasts originating from any network or station in New Zealand. This went some way towards redressing the imbalance in the archival record that has seen non-public radio broadcasters under-represented in archival collections to date. At the same time responsibilities towards the preservation of and access to the older collections were undiminished.
On 1 October 2012 the day-to-day operations of the Sound Archives was transferred to the New Zealand Film Archive, with funding from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. The Archives launched as Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, an integrated audiovisual archive, on 1 August 2014.
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision houses and cares for a number of different sound collections, which total many thousands of hours of audio. Recordings are distinguished by various characteristics including: recorded format (e.g. disc, tape), subject (eg. World War II, NZ Classical Composition), origin (e.g. identity of originating broadcaster, private collection) or date. Specific information on collections can be found in the Collections section of this site. It is important to appreciate that our collections consist of "unpublished" recordings. These are recordings of radio programmes that have been broadcast but not made available for sale. While Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision does hold published sound recordings such as LPs, 45s, 78s and CDs, it is not our primary function to preserve these or to provide copies of commercially released recordings to the public. This is primarily the result of copyright legislation protecting the original owners of the recordings, and the legal complications involved make it too great a drain on our available resources. We are, however, happy to answer purely discographical enquiries where this is possible.
The collection can be searched via our online database and in many cases, copies of recordings can be requested via our online request form.
The Ngā Taonga Kōrero Collection (the Treasures of Speech) is a separate collection of sound material archived by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. The formal beginnings of this collection date from the early 1960s when the Maori section of the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation was set up by Leo Fowler, with Wiremu Kerekere.
Fowler's stroke of genius was to second Wiremu Kerekere to the section. Kerekere was involved with every aspect of Māori cultural activity - composer, tutor, performer and leader. The pair became a force as they travelled from marae to marae, from hui to hui - marae openings, the Coronation hui, Hui Toopu, Hui Aranga, cultural festivals both regional and national, ngā tangihanga, welcomes and farewells, Waitangi, royal occasions, and Māori cultural clubs were all grist to their microphones.
They saved raw and edited tapes together with the programmes compiled from them.
We pay tribute to broadcasters and technicians, station managers, programme organisers, announcers and producers who not only collected this material, but also kept it. Haere ki nga tipuna.
Maintaining an audio collection dating from 1935, recorded on a variety of formats, requiring a corresponding variety of playback equipment (much of it now obsolete) is a complex undertaking. Audio recordings are by nature ephemeral and decay over time is inevitable. The task for Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision staff is to manage this process by migrating recordings to ever newer formats.
If you have in your possession recordings or other material relating to the history of radio broadcasting in New Zealand, you may be interested in offering this to Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, either on deposit (in which case you retain ownership but entrust care of the material to us) or by donation. While such offers are always welcomed, we can make no undertaking to receive material without our prior consent, based on an appraisal of the material and consideration as to whether or not it fills gaps in our existing collections. In particular we cannot undertake without reservation to accept unsolicited bequests. Such offers regarding donation or deposit should be made in each instance to the Ngā Taonga Standards Division at email@example.com
Further information regarding deposits and donations may be found in the Selection and Acquisition policy document.
Help us preserve radio history.
We are always looking to add to our archive.
Sound Archives in Christchurch holds many photographs, memorabilia, and documents relating to the history of radio in New Zealand. You can view some of our photographs in the gallery
Sound Archives has been involved in some interesting projects.