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Film Archive screens 'Newtown on Film, 1900-2011'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A selection of over 20 short films and clips illustrating some of the events, institutions, and people associated with Newtown, Wellington over the years. Part of the Film Show Wellington series of three film programmes that look back at the vitality of life in different Wellington suburbs as time goes by.

Home movies, documentaries, television items and some of the earliest films made in New Zealand feature in this programme.

Newtown Park was the setting for many official events including The Departure of the Second Contingent for the Boer War (1900). This short film shows soldiers on horseback parading in front of the camera, before both men and horses boarded the ship to South Africa. The film is the earliest New Zealand film held by the Film Archive. Newtown Park is also shown in ceremonies held for World War One soldiers, and in a film of the Duke of York's visit to New Zealand in 1927, where 4,000 school children filled the park to form a living flag of the Union Jack. Other films showing the Park are a 1929 boxing contest and a 1981 balloon flight.

Everyday occurrences are also documented - including the Wellington City Council rubbish truck collecting rubbish in Newtown in the 1930s. The collectors, dressed in suits, run from door to door filling large metal containers of rubbish, before taking the load to the tip.

Truby King’s Karitane Hospital and Factory is seen in newsreels from the 1930s and 40s, along with a display by Wellington East Girls’ College, and footage of Wellington's Chinese community celebrating China's National Day with a picnic at Athletic Park in 1946.

Newtown was the scene of large demonstrations during the 1981 Springbok Tour. Clashes with police were captured on film by an amateur filmmaker and comprise a part of the programme.

Several local Newtown personalities feature. Sir Paul Reeves remembers his childhood in Newtown. Arnold Brooker also appears on film. Arnold traveled the country on what he called his "Christian psychiatric crusade" for forty years. Aged 89, he is seen meeting MP Annette King. With his white beard, his religious cape, his white cane, adorned with placards and wearing a jester’s hat, he was frequently seen out and about in Newtown. Another local character captured on film is Donald McDonald, known for his many letters of complaint to the media.

Local musicians Victoria Thompson and Shan Jordan will provide live accompaniment for the silent films on the programme.

The Newtown on Film, 1900 - 2011 programme will screen at 7pm Thursday through Saturday, 22 - 24 August.

The following two Film Show Wellington screenings are:

- Wellington in the 1950s and 1960s, 11 - 14 September

- Khandallah and Johnsonville on Film, 17 - 19 October

All of these screenings will take place at The Film Archive, 84 Taranaki St, Wellington.

Newtown on Film, 1900 - 2011 film programme

When: 7pm, Thursday through Saturday, 22 - 24 August

Where: The New Zealand Film Archive, 84 Taranaki St, Wellington

Ticket price: $8 general admission / $6 concession

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