On Our Doorstep: Reflecting on 60 Years of Television


1 August – 12 December 2020


2020 marks sixty years of television in Aotearoa New Zealand, with the first official public television broadcast taking place from Gus Fisher Gallery’s iconic heritage building on 1 June 1960. This display surveys that pioneering moment of ingenuity, by looking back on the pivotal and well remembered moments of television in Aotearoa from the site where it first went live.

With a makeshift set up and only thirteen staff, the first night of Auckland’s new television channel AKTV-2 ran for just two hours, featuring Ian Watkins interviewing British ballerina Beryl Grey for new programme On Our Doorstep and the Howard Morrison Quartet performing live in the studio. The success of this first, entirely live night of broadcasting in Auckland paved the way for television’s later arrival in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, and eventually countrywide. The New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (later named Television New Zealand) continued to use Shortland Street Studios for a variety of entertainment and current affairs programming until the permanent shift to their new purpose-built Hobson Street Studios in 1989.

Enjoy learning about the defining moments of the past 60 years of television while viewing photographs from former staff who worked at Shortland Street Studios and rare items from broadcasting’s early days. Publicly available archive footage from NZ On Screen Iwi Whitiāhua accompanies the display, bringing pivotal and well remembered moments of our television history to life.

We are grateful to former and current NZBC and TVNZ staff Jennie Goodwin, Roy Good, Tony and Colleen Moore, Geoff Durrant, Lindsay Benbrook, Greer Twiss, Nigel Windsor, Anthony Chapman, Phil Hobden and John Robertson for their contributions to this display. Thanks also to NZ On Screen Iwi Whitiāhua, Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira and Television New Zealand.

This display accompanies the exhibition The Medium is the Message: Television Now and Then.

Design by Gabi Lardies.


The Medium is the Message


Screening: Nam June Paik with introduction by Tobias Berger
1 August 2020

Behind the scenes of TVNZ’s former home
3 October 2020

Zheng Nuanzhi: Evening! with Jimmy Applause
13 October 2020

Kete aronui book club: Carolee Schneemann
15 October 2020

Film screening: Bastion Point: Day 507
24 October 2020

The absolute state of it; journalism today in Aotearoa
28 October 2020


Gus Fisher Gallery
74 Shortland Street
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland Central 1010

Tuesday – Friday:
10am – 5pm
10am – 4pm