Hawke’s Bay on Film 1913 – 1985

– By Jane Paul (Community Programme Coordinator, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

Recently Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision and Historic Places Hawke’s Bay showed a compilation of films focused on Hawke’s Bay history in MTG’s beautiful theatre in Napier.

MTG Theatre.
MTG Theatre.

People started arriving an hour early, and soon the foyer was crammed with people ranging in age from 2 months to 95 years!

Fifteen-year-old Bonnie Allen – who provided musical accompaniment for the silent films – set herself up at the grand piano, and people streamed into the cinema.

audience.
Audience members gathered for “Hawke’s Bay on Film.”

The programme began with a look at the fishing industry in 1913 –  a fascinating glimpse of life on the trawlers and the use of carrier pigeons to convey information about the catch back to the mainland. Sunny Napier – The Brighton of New Zealand (1929) kept the audience enthralled with scenes of old, pre-earthquake Napier.

Interestingly, Alec Douglas Lambourne’s film of the great earthquake in Hastings drew the most applause.

Amongst other gems were a 1980s promotional film for McWilliams winery and a television interview with Sir James Wattie – he has lunch with his staff, drives a Bentley and gives his views on business, monopolies, socialism and success.

After the films, the crowd gave Bonnie a standing ovation for her exceptionally fine musical accompaniment. Judging by comments of people leaving, the show was thoroughly enjoyed:  “well, that was very worthwhile,” “wonderful!”, “fabulous!”, “loved it,” “when’s the next show?” We look forward to taking the Travelling Film Show on the road again soon.

 

Feature image: Sunny Napier – The Brighton of New Zealand (1929)

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