This is & That was New Zealand

The iconic and classic film ‘This is New Zealand’ has now been re-released to cinemas for the first  time since 1972.

The film, originally screened in Osaka, Japan at the world fair Expo ’70, was such a huge hit and such a landmark for New Zealand cinema, that it was brought back and screened across New Zealand.

Now 50 years on it has been remastered and it looks better than ever, and if you've ever been interested about seeing New Zealand in a time capsule, then you'll want to check this out.

‘This is New Zealand’ weaves together a tapestry of cinematic mastery daring to stretch the boundaries of technical restraints and produce visual effects not thought possible in the era in which it was produced.

Writing in The Dominion on 17 March 1971, after seeing a preview, Wellington journalist Dai Hayward said that after this screening to the specially-invited V.I.P. audience, “...there was not , as might be expected, polite applause. There was instead spontaneous, prolonged, enthusiastic and genuine applause – a tribute to the film and the team that made it.”

He went on to say “...it is not only a film of breathtaking beauty. It is also an educational film in the pleasantest and easiest of ways. Every school child would learn more about their own country in the 20 minutes of ‘This is New Zealand' than they would from a week of lessons... Every aspect of the film is first class, but a special tribute is due to script writer and director Hugh Macdonald…”

“With the impact of Cinerama and having the added advantage of showing the main scene with two supplementary ones blending, dividing and mixing, to shatter the senses with quite unparalleled views of New Zealand and her people” reported Fiona Kidman in the Rotorua Daily Post on the 23rd April 1971.

“The whole presents a kaleidoscopic view of New Zealand which would spare the blushes of the most sophisticated New Zealander viewing it among an audience of the alien and uninitiated. And the number of publicity films of which that can be said could be listed on the back of a postage stamp in capital letters”,  wrote Iain Macdonald in the  NZ Herald on the 14th November, 1971.

These were just some of the many positive reviews made of this film when it was screened in cinemas in the four main centres, said Tara Hulbert as one of the promoters of the re-release, who continued to say that it was seen by 350,000 New Zealanders when it returned home following its six months of screenings at Expo 70 in Osaka, Japan.

When Britain prepared to join the European Common Market in the late 1960’s, New Zealand suddenly had to start promoting itself to the world, and one of the ways it did so was to take part in Expo 70. The star attraction at that event was a revolutionary 20-minute film 'This is New Zealand’ and was seen by more than two million people.

This film was made by the National Film Unit, who introduced viewers to New Zealand in a glorious three-screen presentation. With highly inventive camera work and editing, it showed everyone where we are, who we are, and – taking advantage of the super-widescreen format – what a spectacularly beautiful land we live in.

The film, along with the documentary detailing its production, is being screened by Hugh Macdonald Film who would like to ensure that those who saw it in the 1970’s along with more recent generations, can feel proud of the country they call home.


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