Tag Archives: advertising


Summer with Gregg’s Coffee

It is lovely to see some long-awaited sunshine in Wellington this morning! In the spirit of summer, we thought we’d share this 1970 TV advertisement filmed at Wellington’s Oriental Bay with you.

Gregg’s Coffee – Different Faces (Pacific Films, 1970)

This advertisement was part of a wider “Different Faces” series of ads promoting Gregg’s coffee, which all present an idyllic picture of a New Zealand characterised by racial and generational diversity. A range of people enjoy the outdoors – having fun on the sand, in the water, in a park, and on a yacht. You can watch another ad in the “Different Faces” series here.

It is just one amongst tens of thousands of television advertisements held in the collections of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, dating back to the birth of commercial TV in New Zealand in 1961. We’re currently working on an online exhibition that will showcase more advertising gems from our country’s television and radio history – this will launch later in 2017, so keep an eye on our website.

Commercial radio feature

Happy Birthday NZ Commercial Radio!

- By Sarah Johnston (Client Services Coordinator – Radio, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)


This Saturday is the 80th anniversary of national commercial radio in New Zealand, which started with station 1ZB Auckland on 29 October 1936.  Radio had been operating in New Zealand since the 1920s, but advertising was generally not allowed and stations were mostly financed via a licence fee paid by listeners, or via sponsorship from a related business, such as a music retailer. 1ZB had been broadcasting in Auckland for several years already as a private station, owned by Methodist minister Reverend Colin Scrimgeour. 


Aunt Daisy (Maud Ruby Basham), a darling of NZ commercial radio (image: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Documentation Collection).
Aunt Daisy (Maud Ruby Basham), a darling of NZ commercial radio (image: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Documentation Collection).


In 1936 the first Labour government under Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage bought 1ZB and re-opened it as the first station of the government-owned National Commercial Broadcasting Service. 2ZB, 3ZB and 4ZB followed in quick succession, bringing commercial broadcasting to Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Former 1ZB owner, Rev. Scrimgeour – or “Uncle Scrim” – was appointed as head of the new service.

Announcers such as Maud Basham, the legendary “Aunt Daisy,” became firm listener favourites on the commercial network, with her chatty programme of infomercials, recipes and household hints, along with new features such as sponsored radio serials, quiz shows, hit parades, sports commentary and talent quests – all paid for by advertising. The commercial network also hired Māori broadcasters in each centre: Uramo Paora “Lou Paul” in Auckland, Kingi Tahiwi in Wellington, Te Ari Pitama and Airini Grenell in Christchurch and Dunedin.

The government soon discovered commercial radio was a great income earner. In the first year of operation, the four commercial stations made a profit of 10,000 pounds.  After World War II, income from the commercial network was used to establish the National Orchestra – later the NZSO.

The commercial network grew to include regional and provincial stations and ran side by side with the non-commercial network as part of the New Zealand Broadcasting Service (and various later incarnations such as the N.Z.B.C. and Radio New Zealand), until it was sold off by the government in 1996. The ZB stations became part of The Radio Network – and are better known today as NewstalkZB.

You can hear what 1930s commercial radio sounded like in this 1961 documentary.


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 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. Continue reading

Ice Cream and the Great Kiwi Summer

 - By Ellen Pullar, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Communications Advisor

It has been a cracker of a summer so far! If you’re anything like us you’ll have been flocking to the corner dairy or soft serve truck for icy treats to stay cool (conveniently there are two dairies and a gelato stall on Taranaki St, on the same block as Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Wellington, but I digress…). Ice cream has been a quintessential part of the kiwi summer for generations — it’s up there with jandals and stubbies. And, did you know, according to the wise and wonderful Aunt Daisy, it’s good for your health?

A few items from the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collections that document our nation’s longstanding adoration of ice cream follow.

A Sporting Topical (1928) 


This newsreel was made by Lawrie Inkster. The Greymouth-based Lawrie Inkster and his wife Hilda were prolific makers of home movies and newsreels. Their films document family and social life, leisure activities and public events in the region during the 1920s through the 1940s, with much warmth and energy. Here we see a group of young women, smartly dressed in the flapper style then current (including cloche hats and stylish headbands) perched on a sand dune, enjoying their ice creams. Continue reading


- By Diane Pivac (NZFA, Director Connect Division)

In late 2009 the Archive launched Sellebration, a selection of TV commercials from decades past. To begin with we uploaded 20 commercials for each decade from the 1960s to the 1990s and we asked viewers to vote for their favourites.


Voting was fierce and while some of the results were pretty predictable – it seemed like everyone (who was old enough) remembered the famous KFC animation from 1975 and the problems ‘Fluffy’ caused David Judge in the 1980s. Others were less so – Billy T James’ Telethon Song for 1985 beat some stiff competition to be the most popular ad from the 1980s, for example.

Fluffy in the 1980s Ansett Airlines ad.
Fluffy in the 1980s Ansett Airlines ad.


The site proved so popular that once the results were in we decided to add the 2000s and to keep the site live – and we’ve continued to add more commercials, often by viewer request.

Sellebration is a snapshot showing change over time, not only has the way ads are made changed – from the 1960s black and white ads with a lot of earnest, scientific voice-over (usually a man with an english accent, try Deb’s Potato Flakes), to the big-budget pre stock market crash of the 1980s. They also show change over time: from the 60s Craven A King Size filters, to the 80s and 90s alcohol advertising (check out Lion 10 Draught Beer) and the 1990 Commission promoting national unity through the Treaty of Waitangi; or technology changes such as BASF cassette tapes in the 70s (and the fabulous Dear John), the 1987 mobile phone, housed a small suitcase and only available in Auckland, to Telecom’s Xtra broadband in 2006. Continue reading

Rob Muldoon’s Pineapple Whip: The ‘Personality Cook Book’ – A 1971 Snapshot of New Zealand Broadcasting, Celebrity, Social and Culinary History

- By Sarah Davy, Director, Collect [Division] Acquisition and Research, NZFA.


Being a sucker for vintage recipe books, I recently came across a slim black volume in a Murchison second-hand shop, called the Personality Cook Book. Compiled as a fundraiser for the Petone Free Kindergarten in 1971, it contains 149 ‘Favourite recipes from New Zealand’s leading personalities and the cast of Coronation Street’. Annie Walker (‘Trifle’), Len Fairclough (‘Lancashire Hot Pot’), and everyone’s favourite, the cantankerous Ena Sharples (‘Quiche Lorraine’), grace the front cover, but I was curious as to who would be among the ‘leading personalities’ 42 years ago in New Zealand. Continue reading