Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Visual Histories: Amateur Film in New Zealand c.1923-1970

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posted on 2021-11-13, 19:34 authored by Paul, Jane

Many ordinary New Zealanders made amateur films between c.1923-1970. This thesis explores the types of films they made; home movies, community films and films made by members of amateur cine clubs. The discussion focuses on the making, showing and viewing of each of these types of films. Some were shown in private home or club situations, while other films were shown publicly. As a group of films and film practises they offer a valuable source of information on social and cultural history. Their construction differs from orthodox professional film and offers important alternate views of New Zealand society. The sub-genre of amateur film are numerous. Films discussed include newsreels and scripted narrative drama made by amateur cine club members either working alone or in groups. Others under discussion are local films, political films, mountaineering films, educational, instructional and promotional film. The influences on amateur filmmaking are considered: camera company marketing and amateur film manuals, the international amateur film movement and the competition focused cine club culture. The thesis uses four main collections to discuss aspects of amateur filmmaking. These are the films of James Osler of Wairoa, Frederick Thorn of Waiuta, Amos James Smith of Rangiora and Nancy Cameron of Whanganui, all held at the New Zealand Film Archive, Wellington.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

950505 Understanding New Zealand's Past

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Gigliotti, Simone; Macdonald, Charlotte