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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Absolutely fascinating (and awful)

1 April 2021

Sometimes the internet is just fabulous in the way it enables us to look back at history.

Whilst browsing the tube during some downtime yesterday I came across some gems from 1960s New Zealand and have to admit, some of what I saw was pretty eye-openining.

The first video was a look at the way the government of the day tried to help rural Maori adapt to a more urban lifestyle.

This is a truly fascinating insight into the differences between town and country, Maori and European just half a century ago.

There are some interesting observations to be made in this short piece of footage.

Firstly, there seemed nothing out of the ordinary for a relatively low-income Maori family to own a 100 acre dairy farm. Secondly, dairy farming was such a poor earner back then that the farmer had to grow potatoes and other crops to make ends meet.

I was very impressed with the way the young people were dressed and behaved throughout their induction to an urban centre such as Wellington. The fact that the vast majority chose to forego higher starting wages and opt for a poorly paid apprenticeship spoke further to their intelligence and sensibilities. It was also great to see a couple of them returning to school after getting "school cert" and indicated even greater aspirations.

Note also that jobs were pretty easy to find in the city back then. None of them remained unemployed at the end of the short course.

There were many other subtle and not-so-subtle reminders as to how much this country has changed in just half a century.

The very short time since colonisation was highlighted when the young people were taken to Parliament buildings and shown a copy of the Treaty of Waitangi "which their great grandfathers signed in 1840".

This is a video that I think a great many people on all sides of the racial, social and economic divides should watch. Everyone has something to learn from this.

The second video I watched was absolutely awful.

Billed as a "travelogue" movie, it comes from the 1960s as well and is a sort of mini documentary, explaining and showcasing New Zealand to the world.

I have cued the video to what is perhaps the worst part of this horrible short film. Just listen to the sound-track acommpanying the footage of Maori.

Seriously?

WTF?

It seems that disinformation by the media is nothing new, it's just more ubiquitous these days.

Thank goodness for YouTube or I suspect future generations would never see these small glimpses of the past (both fact and fiction) so as to get a better understanding of just how much the world has changed and, more importantly, how much it could change further.

I hope you've enjoyed these little snippets and they will inspire you to take a look for your self and find a few gems of your own. If you do, please share them with the rest of us, along with your comments in the forums.

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