From Outrageous Fortune to Shortland Street, to a “Bugger!” commercial and a turkey in gumboots ….New Zealand television turns 60 today.
Broadcast from Shortland St in central Auckland, New Zealand’s first official television transmission began at 7.30 pm on June 1 1960. The first night’s broadcast lasted just three hours and was only available to viewers in Auckland. It included an episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood, a live interview with a visiting British ballerina and a performance by the Howard Morrison Quartet.
Transmission did not begin in Christchurch until June 1961; Wellington followed four weeks later. Dunedin had to wait until July 31 1962. By 1965 the four stations were broadcasting seven nights a week for a total of 50 hours. There was no national network and each centre saw local programmes. Overseas programmes were flown from centre to centre and played in different cities in successive weeks. By 1969 the four television stations were broadcasting for 65 hours each week, between 2 pm and 11 pm from Sunday to Thursday and 2 pm and midnight at the weekend.