The Kāpiti Heritage group “raided” the film archives for a selection of early films featuring people and places, all filmed on the Kāpiti Coast from 1921 to 2007 and screened at three venues during September.With Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision the programme featured 14 films, including newsreels and home movies, comedies and dramas from some of the historical events captured over 90 years.
The first one screened was a documentary by the New Zealand Moving Picture Co Maoriland Films with insight to the former Ōtaki Māori College (now Te Wānanga O Raukawa) the Ōtaki Sanatorium and Rangiātea Church. Next up, another 1921 was an excerpt from Charlie’s Capers featuring Leonard Doogood — NZ’s “Chaplin’s double” in a boxing match down on the beach! This was produced by Māoriland Films and premiered at the Bright’s Theatre on June 13 1921.Then it was off to the Ōtaki Children’s Health Camp in 1937 a view of the early days — open air classrooms and “ablutions” sunny days and all children wore a hat and children paddling in the sea down on the beach — oh for the freedoms of those days. The voice over was then prime minister Michael Joseph Savage, enthusing the merits of the health camps and seeking support for the King George V Memorial Fund for financial assistance for the health camps.The Rangiātea Church centennial celebrations of 1950 featured Rangiātea the presentation of the altar frontal gifted by the reigning monarch and the 1000’s of people from around NZ accommodated at Raukawa Marae in 30 marquees erected for the celebrations.
Others included the car races on Waikanae Beach — a 50 mile handicap event which included a hairpin bend every half mile, an excerpt of Olive Barron’s development of her Knights Avenue Paraparaumu Beach garden from sand, sand and more sand to the resulting very productive garden of vegetables and flowers. A couple of home movies of family holidays during the ‘50’s and 60’s, excerpt from the 1976 a report on sand erosion threats to many of the country’s beach front homes this was filmed at Raumati Beach and fronted by Ian Fraser. A performance by NZ band The Formyula and their 1970 song Ōtaki was a great hit with the audience, while a 1987 advertisement for Coastlands Mall pointing to the stress free shopping and its 900 car parks available.A little of the 1998 Sir Len Southward documentary about his life and the Southward Museum which houses the “greatest” collection of vintage and veteran cars in the Southern Hemisphere. The museum opened in 1979.
An overview of Kapiti Island’s history, Kāpiti Hono Tātai Hono — My Island My Home told by members of the Barrett whanau living on the island — the whaling and sheep farming, the development of the bird sanctuary, brought the afternoon to a close. “This is the first time we have had an event like this, shown in three different locations,” said Cathy Holmes from the Discover Kāpiti Heritage Group. “We’re thrilled with the numbers of people turning out for each showing, about 80 at each venue.”
The film show was part of the national Heritage Month celebrated during September, noting there eight museums along the coast, including the airport museum and Southward Car Museum. The organisers were very appreciative of the support from the Kāpiti Coast District Council and community boards in Ōtaki, Waikanae and Paraparaumu for their grants and support.