Through the Lens: The New Zealand Wars

Occurring over multiple decades of the 19th Century, the New Zealand Wars played an integral role in shaping post-colonial New Zealand. Given their historical significance and enduring impact, some argue that the wars haven’t received their due attention since. With this in mind, it feels worthwhile to examine some of the portrayals of the wars that do exist in the cultural limelight – and consider how these might play a role in shaping our understanding of this period in New Zealand history.

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Early footage of the timeless natural scenery of Aotearoa

In 1909, Mr. W. Franklyn Barrett of the renowned French film-making firm Pathé Frères was entrusted to travel through New Zealand and capture scenic sights that the world would otherwise not know existed. Barrett did exactly that, and the fruits of his labour were later featured in two short films from Pathé Frères – Across the Mountain Passes of New Zealand, and Coasts of New Zealand. 

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Life on board a 2NZEF troop ship: cramped, concerts and “Crossing the Line”

Some of the first recordings sent back to New Zealand for radio broadcasts in late 1940 give some insight into life on board the troop ship on which the Broadcasting Unit was travelling, as part of the Third Echelon of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

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About Norm Hatch

The late Norman J. Hatch was a World War II combat cameraman who witnessed and filmed some of the most bitter fighting in the Pacific War.

His efforts ended with, an Academy Award  for footage so brutal that it took special permission from President Franklin Roosevelt to allow his documentary on the Battle of Tarawa to be shown to the American public in 1944.

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Introducing the Norm Hatch Collection

Between June 1942 and November 1943, around 21,000 US Marines arrived in the Wellington region to prepare for or recover from combat in the Pacific. They were among about 50,000 American servicemen who would be posted in New Zealand during World War 2, an event that would have a lasting impact on local culture.  

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