Vincent Aspey was a key figure in the development of music in New Zealand in the middle of last century. For 20 years he was leader of the National Orchestra formed in 1946 (later re-named the NZ Symphony Orchestra) as well as being an outstanding concert violinist. Vincent Aspey’s son, Vince Aspey junior, also a fine violinist, recalls his father in conversation with Jack Perkins.
'Brass banding is a great relaxation,' says Bill Rimmer, a Soprano Cornet player with The Band of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery, 'We all come from different walks of life…and we’re all brought together by music.'
The 'Arty' Band, as it’s affectionately known, has been bringing its members together for the past 149 years, making it the oldest band in New Zealand with a continuous playing history. Established in 1864, the Band has played on through two World Wars, the Great Depression and at least 35 New Zealand Premiers and Prime Ministers.
On the eve of the band’s 150 Anniversary celebrations, Spectrum’s Lisa Thompson hears how its members are still marching on.
David Steemson visits Tiritiri Matangi in the Hauraki Gulf to talk to founders of a Supporters group who have helped replant well over half the island in native flora.
Jack Perkins discovers an Aladdin’s cave of oriental rugs and carpets in the central Wellington workshop of Anna Williams. Anna has been repairing these exotic floor coverings and wall hangings for over 20 years. She’s worked in Turkish back streets and lived with nomads in southern Iran, all in pursuit of improving her repair skills.
In a few small rooms packed to the ceiling with storage boxes, Robert Johnson and Lisa Young make sure the music happens for the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. It’s their job to find that obscure piece of music or to handwrite notations into dozens of scores - and then rub them all out again after the performance. All this in an office space so overflowing with boxes that simply walking through it is an adventure. For Spectrum, Justin Gregory joins Robert and Lisa as they wash-up after one concert and also prepare for the next.
Alwyn Owen explores the lighter side of New Zealand’s poetry of patriotism which was fashionable during the latter half of the 19 century and the early 20th. Our patriotic versifiers were eclectic. They praised the 1840s Wakefield Settlement Scheme, the 1924 All Blacks and many things in between.' For Zealandia and God' is narrated by Bill Toft (first broadcast in January 1973).
Eleven year-old Jo Hamid and her family of seven emigrated from England to New Zealand in 1950. The boat passage cost 10 pounds and children travelled free. During the immediate post war years, this assisted emigration scheme encouraged about one million to leave war-weary UK in search of better conditions in New Zealand and Australia. The ‘Ten Pound Poms’ as they were often known, escaped the rationing and recession of post war Britain but, as Jo Hamid tells Jack Perkins, their new life wasn’t without hardship and challenge.
‘You do get tongue-tied,’ giggles Marie Hindmarsh, one half of the group Knocker Knitters.
‘You were going knicker-knotters at one stage!’ laughs her friend and partner in knitting, Christina Kilfoyle.
The Auckland pair started knitting woollen breasts earlier this year, as an alternative to prosthetics for women who have undergone mastectomies.
And they now have women all over the country picking up their needles to help.
Spectrum’s Lisa Thompson finds out why Marie and Christina have traded beanies for boobs.
David Steemson drops in on kilt maker Eric Von Hurst who learned the craft when he was a young man in the Canadian army. He’s one of only two certified kilt makers in New Zealand. Each kilt contains a single run of fabric eight metres long, imported from Scotland and the whole thing is created by hand.
Dog adopters gather to picnic and celebrate. Organized by the Wellington SPCA, this open-air event attracts dozens of animal lovers and voluntary SPCA workers but the main focus is on those who have welcomed a homeless dog or other animal into their family.
A group of Kaimanawa horses, which once roamed wild over the Central Plateau, are proving how adaptable they can be by learning to bow, use a seesaw and perform to music. With these skills, Robin Sisley’s nine Kaimanawa horses are now contributing to their upkeep by performing for small shows at her Waikato property. For Spectrum, Lisa Thompson finds out how Robin has turned her horses from wild to workable.
You arrive with a bang on Little Barrier Hauturu. The island’s been a wild life sanctuary since 1897, there’s no jetty, and the boat carrying visitors lands by speeding up a ramp on shore, and then being winched up to a boat house. A team of scientists has been collecting birds on the island for transport to a new sanctuary on Rotoroa Island. Visitors to Hauturu are by invitation only, and for Spectrum David Steemson is part of a group invited to watch the final bird collection work.
Spectrum’s Jerome Cvitanovich visits Te Puna Wai Ora - the Spring of Life.
This natural fountain supplies an estimated 250,000 litres of water a month to the people of Wellington.
Twelve women, aged between 50 and mid-70s and mainly from Taranaki, recently trekked for 3 days through Nepal’s mountain passes to the remote village of Kharikhola. They were accompanied by Sherpa porters carrying 10 sewing machines, haberdashery, fabric, threads, elastic and needles. Calling themselves ‘Stitches for Britches’, the intrepid team taught village women how to sew. The hope is that as their proficiency improves, the villagers will develop a cottage industry.
It’s one of New Zealand’s greatest aviation questions – did farmer and inventor Richard Pearse achieve controlled flight before the Wright Brothers in 1903? While a definitive answer may never be known, there’s one man who is determined to see if Pearse’s patented aircraft will actually fly. Automotive engineer Ivan Mudrovcich has dedicated nearly a decade to building a reproduction of Richard Pearse’s early flying machine. Spectrum’s Lisa Thompson pays a visit to Ivan’s garage and finds a backyard inventor adding his own chapter to our aviation history.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, George Davies, along with his mates Curly and Big Mac, gave up the struggle to survive in the city and travelled to the Howard goldfield in the Upper Buller to try their luck. They mixed with characters and criminals and found that gold recovery was back-breaking work. But they served an apprenticeship, found physical and mental skills previously unknown to them and became practitioners of a craft. (Produced by Laurie Swindell and first broadcast in May 1972)
Wellington’s St Peters Anglican church on Willis St, established in 1848, has a long history of providing succour for the poor and under-privileged and taking a strong stand on controversial topics and issues of social justice. Spectrum’s Jack Perkins attends a Sunday morning service and climbs the bell tower where he’s told about bold new plans to restore and strengthen the structure which would allow the 8 bells to peal out like never before.
Caesar Roose was born in 1886 on an island in the Waikato River, opposite the railway town of Mercer. At the age of eighteen, he launched his first commercial boat and for the next 60-years Roose vessels traded along the big river and its many tributaries. His only child, Jeanette Thomas, has just opened her own museum in Mercer to remember her father and his place in Mercer’s history.
The Battle for Monte Cassino, finally won on the 18 May 70 years ago, has been described as the ‘forgotten campaign’ of the Second World War. But for mosaic artist, Janice Corbishley, the connection with the small Italian town of Cassino could not be stronger. Because it is there that her uncle Trevor Corbishley fought alongside hundreds of other New Zealand soldiers over a long and bloody five-month period in 1944. His story is being shared as part of a commemorative art exhibition titled Legato.
Working with temperatures in excess of 1000 °C, blacksmith Kim Nielsen says on a cold winter’s day there’s no better place to be than next to his forge. Kim and his father Ian run one of the last production blacksmith workshops in the country, based in Auckland’s industrial heartland of Penrose. Join Spectrum’s Lisa Thompson as the Nielsens fire up their coke forge.
Each summer fewer than a thousand nature tourists get to visit New Zealand’s stormy sub Antarctic islands. Numbers are deliberately kept low to reduce the impact on the islands’ famed bird and plant life. This summer Auckland journalist Paul Charman was amongst the lucky few, aboard the good ship ‘Spirit of Enderby’. For Spectrum, Paul Charman captures the sound of places seldom trod and talks to passengers with a life-long passion for birds and an enduring love of plants.
Researcher Margaret Tate shows Spectrums Jack Perkins around Palmerston North’s Savage Crescent state housing precinct and they also meet long-time residents. Savage Crescent dates from 1937 and was designed as a garden suburb with curved streets, a variety of housing styles and a central common reserve. It was the first of its kind outside the 4 main centres and has changed little in over 70 years.
This week on Spectrum, ‘The V Team’. Katy Gosset is behind the scenes at a lively Christchurch veterinary practice where staff bring their dogs to work and spaying a lioness is just another day at the office.
John Ewing knows that if he ever washed up in a foreign land, all he would need is a pencil and paper to make himself understood. Trained as an animator at the Walt Disney studios in Los Angeles in the 1950s and 60s, John helped draw characters for familiar classics such as Sleeping Beauty and The Jungle Book. Spectrum’s Lisa Thompson meets John Ewing and finds out what it was like to work for a time at one of the most magical places on earth.
In its various manifestations, Parsons Books and Music has been a cultural landmark on Wellington’s Lambton Quay since 1948. Russian composer Igor Stravinsky called it ‘the most beautiful bookshop in the world’. But now Parsons is closing. Spectrum’s Jack Perkins talks with Julian Parsons and his sister Beatrice and to long-time customers saddened by the empty shelves.