TVNZ has compiled a comprehensive timeline of significant and memorable events that have occured in and around the television industry in New Zealand over the past 50 years.
From the broadcast of the Wahine disaster footage in 1968, to the very first screening of Shortland Street in 1992, it’s all there.
Take a trip down memory lane below.
BBC in Britain broadcast the first television images in 1936
NBC began broadcasting in the United States in 1939.
NZ Government formed departmental committee to study the new medium of television
Experimental closed-circuit demonstration broadcasts began on the proviso that they did not include anything that could be classified as ‘entertainment’
TV begins in Australia
NZ Prime Minister Walter Nash declared that public broadcasts of TV could proceed. Television would be introduced as an entertainment medium
The first official transmission of television began at 7.30 pm on the 1st of June from Shortland Street Studios in Auckland. (1st June)
AKTV2 broadcast for 3 hours but could only be received in Auckland.
The first night of programming included an episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood with the Howard Morrison Quartet performing live
Ian Watkins became the first TV presenter when he interviewed English ballerina, Beryl Grey.
Transmission increased from 2 to 4 nights a week in July
Alma Johnson became first female TV presenter in August
TV License Fee introduced and cost £4 per year, the equivalent of $159.25 in 2010.
The Bell 21” TV Consolette sold for £149.10 (Equivalent cost in 2010 of $5,935)
Advertising introduced on TV to off-set costs. Ads could only play Tuesday – Thursday and Saturday (April).
Christchurch TV channel CHTV3 began broadcasting (1st of June)
Wellington TV channel WNTV1 began broadcasting (1st of July)
Daily news bulletins began (March)
NZ Broadcasting Corporation established by legislation that puts broadcasting in public control. (April)
NZBC assumes responsibility for 35 radio stations and 4 TV stations around the country.
Dunedin TV channel DNTV2 began broadcasting (July)
All 4 TV stations were allowed to broadcast 35 hours a week (Oct)
The Queen opened NZ Parliament and the event was broadcast live from Wellington.
The Wellington channel produces the first television play called All Earth to Love
TV was used by politicians in the lead up to the November General Election. Two hours of pre-recorded speeches were broadcast on the 4 regional television stations.
But most politicians appeared stiff and uncomfortable in front of the camera, and the telecasts were described as ‘animated waxworks’
The first programme named Close Up debuts with interviewer Ian Johnstone
Coronation Street first screens (May)
Increasing pressure for extended coverage prompts NZBC to license community groups so they could build and operate their own TV translators to receive, boost and re-transmit the signal to their local areas
Peter Snell won two gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics. The games spark a boom in sales of TVs. (Oct)
NZBC establishes a Maori programme section
275,000 TV license holders in NZ. (Nov)
Annual income from radio and TV licenses exceeds £5,000,000, more than £250,000 being paid in taxation. (Equivalent collection today of $175 million)
License Fee data shows nearly 50% of households have TVs.
305,410 licensed sets across NZ, 1/3 of them in Auckland. (Feb)
The 4 stations broadcast seven nights a week – a total of 50 hours
Country Calendar screens for the first time (March).
C’mon debuts, filmed in front of a live audience and hosted by Peter Sinclair (Nov).
Compass episode on the change to Decimal Currency banned. Compass producer, Gordon Bick resigns over it.
NZBC decides to allow journalists to fully investigate political issues, a decision that significantly changed current affairs in NZ.
The Town and Around Show tops the ratings
Current Affairs show ‘Gallery’ debuts
A new season of Compass begins. The first episode features an interview with the Duke of Edinburgh by Ian Cross and David Beatson
Wellington TV captures the Wahine Disaster on film and the coverage wins an international news award
Microwave link created to form the first network to broadcast pictures of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. 1.5 million viewers tuned in for the broadcast (July).
Political advertising aired on TV in the lead up to the election.
Network News begins with Bill Toft, Philip Sherry, Dougal Stevenson and Stewart MacPherson alternating as newsreaders.
First networked bulletin read by Dougal Stevenson at 7:35pm on 3rd of November from Wellington.
Political debates and election covered widely on TV (Nov)
Dr Brian Edwards wins inaugural Feltex TV Award for interview with surgeon who performed first heart transplant, Dr Christiaan Barnard.
First satellite established that links NZ to world
Current Affairs programme, Survey debuts replacing Compass and achieves top ratings
Melbourne Cup Race is first event to be broadcast via satellite (Nov).
First live All Black test broadcast – NZ vs Australia (Sept).
Playschool debuts, runs for 80 episodes.
Central Otago, the West Coast and the central North Island finally get TV reception.
Colour TV arrives and license for it costs $35, the equivalent of $361.19 today.
First colour broadcast on Halloween by continuity announcer, Marama Martin wearing a purple dress (photo attached)
The marriage of H.R.H Princess Anne to Captain Mark Philips broadcast in colour
600,000 viewers watch direct telecasting of FA Cup Final, Leeds vs Sunderland
Keith Quinn does his first rugby test commentary for TV, England v All Blacks at Eden Park.
Fred Dagg debuts with John Clarke
It’s in the Bag debuts on TV (Oct)
Coverage of Christchurch Commonwealth Games is the largest undertaking ever for NZBC (Jan-Feb)
Network didn’t have enough equipment to broadcast the entire games in colour so everything but swimming, track & field and boxing was in black & white.
Muhammad Ali – George Foreman fight gathers an afternoon audience of 880,000.
Spot On debuts
Advertising is allowed on Fridays
The South Tonight debuts with Rodney Bryant and Bryan Allpress
NZBC dismantled and re-established as TV One, TV Two & Radio NZ
Avalon opens in April, the Lower Hutt television centre is the biggest and most technically advanced facility in the country. It cost $10 million to build the equivalent of $160 million in 2009.
Close to Home debuts (May)
Jennie Goodwin becomes first woman in the Commonwealth to anchor a prime time network news programme
TV Two begins broadcasting in November and airs first Telethon a week later
First telethon raises $593,878 for St John Ambulance
The newly elected National Government decides to merge all broadcasting services, including radio back into one corporation a year after it was split. The new model is called BCNZ.
Radio with Pictures debuts in September and runs for 10 years – hosts include Barry Jenkins, Karyn Hay, Phil O’Brien and Dick Driver
Telethon ’76 raised $1.6 million for the Child Health Foundation
Ian Johnstone becomes the first NZ television reporter to visit South Africa and interviewed Desmond Tutu, journalist Donald Woods and Prime Minister John Vorster. South Africa – the Black Future won Johnstone a Feltex Award.
Nice One Stu debuts with Stu Dennison as the naughty schoolboy poking fun at straight-laced sidekick, Roger Gascoigne.
First episode of Fair Go screens (April) and is favourably received
Close To Home attracting nearly 1 million viewers every episode and by 1977 was NZ’s longest running drama production
Spot On wins award for best children’s show
Telethon ‘77 raised $2,005,750 for the Mental Health Foundation
The Governor, The God Boy and Richard Pearse are 3 of several programmes sold to overseas television networks.
Stu Dennison’s programme ‘Nice One Stu’ on TV One and Andrew Shaw’s programme ‘Hey Hey It’s Andy” on TV Two compete for the younger audience.
Stu and Andrew still work for TVNZ, Stu is Deputy Head of Sport and Andrew is General Manager of Commissioning, Production & Acquisitions.
Dateline Monday debuts and investigates the controversial pesticide 2-4-5-T
A Week of It debuts, the satirical look at NZ political issues runs until 1979
Telethon ‘78 raised $3 million for the Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation
Mastermind BBC invites Mastermind NZ to take part in an international programme
95% of homes in NZ have a television
Close To Home clocks up its 500th episode
Bill Ralston joins TV2 as a reporter
Gordon Harcourt makes his debut as a 9 year old child actor on Close to Home playing Eddie (today he co-presents Fair Go with Ali Mau & Kevin Milne.)
TV2’s Sport screens an exclusive 90 min interview on Muhammad Ali
Telethon ‘79 raises $2, 767,351 for the Year of The Child
TVNZ was established, with the two previously competing channels becoming part of a single organisation.
The National newsroom was transferred from Avalon to Auckland (Feb).
Judy Bailey & John Hawkesby begin co-presenting regional news show, Top Half
Main news anchor Dougal Stevenson resigns electing to stay in Wellington instead of moving to Auckland.
Trial starts of News in Maori
Angela d’Audney presents Kaleidoscope
More than 100 documentaries are completed in 1980 and the bulk screen on programmes ‘Contact’ and ‘Look Out’
Island of Strange Noises wins a silver prize at the New York Film Festival – part of the Natural History film series The Wild South
Radio with Pictures moves to TV One with new frontman Phil O’Brien
Miss NZ/Miss Universe debuts in 1980 and runs for 8 years
Mark Sainsbury starts work as a researcher for current affairs show, Close Up (the first current affairs show with that name)
Nine films are screened in one week in a NZ feature film festival
What Now debuts and still screens on TV2. It has had a long roll-call of presenters including Steve Parr, Danny Watson, Simon Barnett, Jason Gunn, Michelle A’Court, Tamati Coffey and Antonia Prebble.
Telethon ‘81 raises $5 million for the International Year of Disabled Persons
Beauty and The Beast does its 1500th episode in front of a live audience in the James Hay Theatre, Christchurch
Private TV makes a brief foray into the market, when in June Northern TV (owned by a consortium of newspapers led by the NZ Herald) went to air with a one hour magazine style programme called ‘Good Morning’. It survived for one year.
Whai Ngata and Derek Fox set up Te Karere, the first Māori news programme (Feb). It is still broadcast today on TV ONE at 4pm and repeated on TVNZ 7.
Close To Home comes to an end after 8 years of almost continuous programming
Telethon ‘83 raises $4.5 million in aid of the NZ Family Trust
Gallipoli screens, an historical documentary about NZ’s involvement in the WWI campaign
Geoff Steven’s hour long documentary, Pacific Tattoo airs with Peter Fonda doing the narration
Malcolm Hall produces a series that features kiwis doing unconventional things, called The Pacemakers
Kevin Milne joins Fair Go as a reporter
Karyn Hay began presenting Radio with Pictures and copped a lot of flak for her kiwi accent.
NZ television celebrates 25 years on-air.
Research shows 7out of the 10 most popular programmes of 1984 were locally made shows including the 6.30 News, McPhail & Gadsby, Miss NZ, Decision ’84, the rugby tests against Australia and the Olympics.
TVNZ HQ moved from Wellington to Auckland
State-Owned Enterprises Act requires SOEs to be run as commercial businesses
Judy Bailey and Neil Billington co-present revamped 6pm Network News
Modelling competition, Revlon Face of the 80s debuts
TVNZ host broadcaster for inaugural Rugby World Cup
Paul Henry debuts on NZ television as host of the game show, Every Second Counts. It runs until 1989.
Dougal Stevenson presents the Krypton Factor, a game show where contestants compete against each other in a variety of physical and mental challenges
TVNZ braced itself for the introduction of TV3 by securing rights to many popular overseas programmes, cancelling Channel 2 news to concentrate news resources on Channel One and locking-in sporting rights.
TVNZ won the rights to the 1992 Olympics.
ONE News moves to 6pm from 6:30pm
Jim Hickey begins presenting weather on TVNZ after many small acting parts in Gloss, Mortimer’s Patch and time working on Country Calendar.
Paul Holmes hits the screen with Holmes following the 6pm news (April).
Advertising allowed to run 24/7 except for Sunday mornings and public holidays.
Bernadine Oliver-Kerby gets her first job in television presenting youth show, ‘Life in the Fridge’
Broadcasting Act removes restrictions on entry to broadcasting for private companies including the ability to operate cable TV, direct satellite broadcasting and UHF frequencies (July).
Journalist, Cathy Campbell becomes the first woman to present her own sports show, Mobil Sports Night (Sept).
TV 3 goes to air five months late on November 27 just as viewership reduces over summer and TVNZ gears up to broadcast the 1990 Commonwealth games in Auckland.
TVNZ host broadcaster for The Commonwealth Games in Auckland.
Wheel of Fortune debuts
Introduction of NZ’s first pay TV service, Sky Television launched three channels.
TV 3 goes into receivership
Shortland Street debuts on May 25th
TVNZ became an independent satellite operator providing the company with one of the most sophisticated satellites networks in the world.
Yachting reporter, Martin Tasker joins TVNZ
End of the Goodnight Kiwi TV2 begins broadcasting 24/7
Thingee’s eye pops out during a recording of The Son of a Gunn Show
Asia Downunder debuts
Simon Dallow gets his first job in broadcasting as a news presenter on TV2’s Newsnight
Karen Olsen begins presenting weather on TV ONE
Alison Mau starts begins presenting Eye Witness News
ONE News is extended to an hour per night
The Holmes Show moves to 7pm
Sports Café debuts on Sky TV
Tonight presenter, Greg Boyed gets first start in television working for Auckland regional station, ATV.
Neil Roberts re-joins TVNZ as Head of Television.
Breakfast debuts on TV ONE with Alison Mau and Mike Hosking presenting and Liz Gunn reading the news.
Canadian Company, CanWest increases ownership from 20% to 100% of TV3
CanWest launch C4 youth channel
TVNZ sells 80% of the Dunedin based Natural History Unit to Fox TV Studios. As NHNZ it would become one of the world’s leading producers of factual programmes.
Wendy Petrie gets her first job in television, writing and presenting newsbreaks for TV3
Pippa Wetzell starts in the TVNZ newsroom as the overnight reporter on the assignments desk.
Neil Roberts dies of cancer (Nov).
Public Broadcasting fee phased out
TVNZ sells a number of assets that were not essential to core business including shareholding in Sky TV.
APEC Summit held in Auckland and became NZ’s biggest news event to be covered by TVNZ.
TV ONE & TV2 transmitted on Sky TV’s digital platform
TVNZ runs uninterrupted coverage of September 11 terrorism attacks for 36 hours
Reality police show, Motorway Patrol debuts
TVNZ launches www.nzoom.com
NZ Television Archive opens in Lower Hutt
Reality TV police show, Police 10-7 debuts presented by retired Detective Inspector, Graham Bell
TVNZ becomes Crowned Owned Company
TVNZ Charter officially adopted
TVNZ’s advertising revenue passes $300 million for the first time
Bill Ralston becomes TVNZ’s Head of News & Current Affairs (July).
Jim Mora presents new feel-good show Mucking-In.
Sports Café moves from Sky TV to TV2
Maori Television begins broadcasting in March
TV2’s kids show Studio 2 debuts (March)
Tamati Coffey gets his first job in television as a presenter on What Now
Judy Bailey leaves TVNZ after presenting the news for 18 years
Paul Holmes leaves TVNZ for a new rival current affairs show on Prime.
Flagship TV ONE programme Dancing with the Stars debuts drawing audiences of 700,000 each episode. 2005 series won by former rugby player, Norm Hewitt
Debut of Attitude, a series that profiles the issues and interests of people living with a disability with a strong thread of advocacy journalism
Sports Café canned after celebrity drug scandal involving regular presenter Marc Ellis
Simon Dallow & Wendy Petrie begin co-presenting ONE News at 6pm in January.
Bill Ralston resigns from TVNZ as head of News & Current Affairs (Jan).
TVNZ ondemand launched in March
Australian newsman Anthony Flannery takes over from Ralston as head of News & Current Affairs in May.
Simon Dallow voted sexiest man on TV for the sixth year in a row as well as best news presenter in the Best On The Box Awards.
Former Silver Fern, Jenny May Coffin starts working for TV ONE Sport.
TVNZ 6 begins broadcasting on the Freeview Platform in September.
TVNZ 7 begins broadcasting on the Freeview Platform in March.
In July Tony Veitch resigns from his role as the main sports anchor for ONE News after allegations that he physically assaulted a former partner.
In August http://tvnz.co.nz launches award winning Beijing Olympics site and four separate live streams during the event – a first for NZ.
http://tvnz.co.nz relaunches news platform in December.
Paul Holmes returns to TVNZ as co-interviewer with Guyon Espiner on TV ONE’s award winning political show Q+A (March).
http://tvnz.co.nz launches entertainment platform in May.
TVNZ 6 & TVNZ 7 are added to the Sky platform (July)
TVNZ News and Current Affairs wins 11 of the 12 Qantas Awards in the news section.
http://tvnz.co.nz launches iphone application – considered one of the best iphone apps in the world.
NZ series of The Apprentice debuts fronted by controversial Wellington property developer, Terry Serepisos and won by contestant Thomas Ben.
Inaugural series of Masterchef NZ debuts with Christchurch schoolteacher, Brett McGregor taking the first title.
TVNZ commission second series of Masterchef NZ after a successful first series and outstanding ratings.
Alison Mau joins a revamped Fair Go to co-present with Kevin Milne and Gordon Harcourt.
TVNZ & Sony partner to put TVNZ ondemand on PS3 – the first commercial television broadcaster in the world to be on the PS3.
TVNZ launches a new channel on Sky TV’s pay platform that will feature 100% local content called Heartland.