NZBS Mobile Unit Collection: Tahakopa Sawmill

Audio Conservator Alex Porter is currently working on a project to digitise and describe the New Zealand Broadcasting Service Mobile Unit Collection. The project will take the best part of the next year, during this time Alex and her colleague Camilla will listen to every part of the collection. In this blog post Alex shares interesting snippets of audio she has come across this week, recorded by the Mobile Unit at the Tahakopa timber mill, in the Catlins.

The Tahakopa Sawmill was located 10km from the township of Tahakopa, in the isolated bush of the Catlins District, Otago. Situated right at the end of the Catlins River branch railway line, specifically built to manage the logging industry, the Tahakopa timber mill was one of many mills felling red and black pine, tōtara, and kāmahi trees from both state and privately owned forestlands.

In this recording from November 1948, an unidentified New Zealand Broadcasting Service announcer introduces the mill and interviews Mr Ab Griffin, Manager of the Harg and Company Sawmill, Tahakopa:


This clip features an NZBS commentary – with sound effects – of a tree being felled, recorded on the same occasion:


 – By Alex Porter (Audio Conservator, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)


Learn more about the New Zealand Broadcasting Service Mobile Unit and Alex and Camilla’s work with this collection here.


Audio excerpts from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Radio Collection, all rights reserved. To enquire about re-use of these items please contact

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