Celebrating 60 years of Television in New Zealand


On 1 June 1960, the first official public television broadcast was made possible by a team of 13 dedicated staff who worked in the Shortland Street Studios to bring together the first night of programming on AK-TV2. The programming schedule for the evening featured a mixture of local and imported content: an episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood, On Our Doorstep with Ian Watkins interviewing British ballerina Beryl Grey, the Howard Morrison Quartet performing live and two local documentaries were just some of the items played that night.

Programming began at 7:30pm, and finished at 9:30pm. The broadcast was throughout the Auckland region only, and television would not reach Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin until the following years.

Sadly, no footage exists from that historic first night of television, but to commemorate this sixty year anniversary Gus Fisher Gallery has brought together some archival footage for your viewing pleasure: 

The Howard Morrison Quartet, performing ‘Marina’ with Toni Williams and the Tremellos for an item on Pictorial Parade. This item was filmed on 15 July 1960, only a month after television was first introduced. It was produced by the National Film Unit.

Behind the scenes footage produced by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation in 1964, showing viewers the facilities which television was produced in. The footage shows how far the Shortland Street Studios had advanced in just a few years, moving from a small rudimentary set-up in one section of the building to taking over the entire premises and having it refitted for television. Studio One, its adjacent storage room, the control rooms, and the air conditioning unit on the roof are shown. Some of these elements still exist in the building today.

Goodnight Kiwi, the much-loved animation which played at the end of each day’s transmission. Goodnight Kiwi was introduced to our screens in 1975, when it appeared as a short at the closedown of programming each night on TV2. It continued to be used until 1994, when Television New Zealand introduced 24 hour programming, and now exists as a nostalgic piece of footage which sometimes makes another appearance on the network. Goodnight Kiwi was animated by Sam Harvey, with music by Bernie Allan and sound by Gary Potts.

Gus Fisher Gallery would like to thank Television New Zealand and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision for their assistance in bringing together these items for viewing.