Old New Zealand

...Television...

"Television 'arrived' in New Zealand last night. The event: First live presentations and official programme on channel 2, Auckland. The verdict: A dignified, successful entry. This was a slick and thoroughly professional TV production - a contrast with some experimental Monday night television presented here."

Auckland Star - 2 June 1960

The first official television broadcast in New Zealand did not come until the first of June 1960 when Aucklanders were treated to three hours of programming from 7:30pm. A year later transmissions began first in Christchurch and then Wellington with Dunedin getting their first broadcasts on 31st July 1962.

The Early Years
Kiwis Make Their Own Programmes

In 1962 a locally produced talent show aired called "Have a Shot". In 1963 the pop music show "Let's Go" began as did New Zealand's first locally produced drama, Alfred Flett's All Earth To Love. 1964 saw the first episodes of the British soap "Coronation Street" which has become the longest running overseas show on New Zealand television and remains popular to this day.

New Zealand's longest running show of any type is Country Calendar, a news roundup catering to the rural sector which first aired in 1966 on Sunday 6th of March at 7.15pm. The show was mainly concerned with farming, fishing, forestry and the rural lifestyle. That might seem fairly dry subject material but Country Calendar was very watchable and had a cracking theme song. The music show "C'mon" hosted by Peter Sinclair hit TV screens in November

Country Calendar Theme Tune
NZ On Screen - 40 years of Country Calendar

Pukemanu, set in a rural timber town first aired in 1971 and helped launch the careers of a number of T.V. stars including the likes of Bruno Lawrence, Pat Evison, Ginette McDonald and Geoff Murphy. Subsequent drama series included Close To Home (1975), Mortimer's Patch (1981), Gloss (1987) and Shortland Street (1992).

NZ on Screen - Pukemanu - Excerpts from the Pukemanu series.

New Zealand Television Timeline