Mobile Unit – New Zealand Oral History, 1946-48


The recordings include the speech of some of the earliest speakers of New Zealand English, with some born as early as the 1850s.

Significantly, both Pakeha and Maori subjects were interviewed for the project. The Maori speakers are the earliest surviving recordings of Maori who were born in the late 1800s - and have also been cited amongst the earliest of indigenous people in the world.

The collection has been used as the basis for a linguistical analysis of changes in the pronunciation of Maori and New Zealand English languages over the last 100 years, and led to the development of a computer-based pronunciation aid.  The collection also contributed greatly to the growing use of field-recorded actuality in broadcasting programmes in New Zealand and the recordings are still used in programming today.

The New Zealand Oral History Collection 1946-1948 is available to all New Zealanders through a range of resources to study, treasure and enjoy as part of our recorded documentary heritage.  Importantly, this documentary heritage contributes to the celebration of our history and the Maori language as a national taonga.

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