Wellington: Then and Now

To mark Wellington Anniversary Day on January 21 2019, our Digital Content Editor Troy Coutts went out for a spot of filming. The idea was to recreate shots from a couple of archival films in the collection: Wellington Capital City of New Zealand from 1925, and Around Port Nicholson from 1934. Both films feature all the shots you would expect to see when showing off the capital: the harbour, the Botanic Gardens, Oriental Bay, Courtenay Place, Parliament and the old Government Building.

Selecting a range of these shots, Troy was able to identify the location where these were filmed and headed out, armed with a camera and an iPad for reference. Out on the streets, a number of people asked Troy what he was up to: filming a hidden gem, or something unusual?

Lining up the ‘then and now’ scenes accurately proved tricky, with small differences in angle or elevation altering the look. Finding a matching landmark to reference was helpful, but buildings, trees and the shoreline can change enormously in nearly 100 years. There was also a good deal more traffic to account for on Courtenay Place than back in the 20s and 30s. Some of these issues could be addressed during editing, and the end result is a compelling video, inviting multiple views.

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Please leave a comment below – is there anything that stands out to you in this video? Or are there any archival clips of other locations you’d like to see us recreate?

Written by David Klein