He Tāonga kōrero - Spectrum in Te Araroa 1989

From Te Ahi Kaa, 6:06 pm on 17 July 2016

Since 1972 Spectrum has covered a wide range of stories across the width of breadth of Aotearoa. It began as the NZBC Special Projects Unit lead by Alwyn (Hop) Owen.

To mark the end of the long-running series this month, Te Ahi Kaa will feature a few of the documentary programmes from the archives.

Spectrum Producers Alwyn Owen and Jack Perkins

Spectrum Producers Alwyn Owen and Jack Perkins Photo: Supplied

"That Chap over there is wearing the Coast uniform.

"And what do you mean by the Coast uniform?

"The...Swandri. I think every male in Te Araroa has a Swandri I have one myself, I didn't realise how comfortable it was til I bought one, they are really marvellous. A good many women in Te Araroa have a Swandri too. I think it’s the uniform of the whole coast too, the Swandri is so easy and warm.

- Alwyn Owen in conversation with Bob McConnell, Te Araroa, 1989.

In 1989, Alwyn Owen visted Te Araroa on the East Coast. It was one year since Cyclone Bola and unemployment had hit the locals hard.

Access Training schemes were available, and the industry of the time was farming. But the people still lead busy lives.

There was a “religious” rugby community, there were fundraising campaigns for local marae, and pig hunting was popular.

"We'll go out into the moonlight, in the night time when the pigs come out...once a dog has latched onto the pig, it's not all that hard....go in with your knife, stick him, pull him on the horse and you're away." - Jimmy Kururangi

Alwyn visited the town to give impressions about its people.

There's the young slightly unorthodox doctor, the tea ladies serving up creamed paua and bubu's, and the dog that everyone knows called Twinkle.

Ngā taonga Sound and Vision

"The old name for Te Araroa was Kawakawa mai Tawhiti a lot of māori names around here have mai tawhiti after them, meaning brought from afar names came with Māori coming from far distance places." - Bob McConnell

Archival material supplied by Ngā Tāonga Sound and Vision.