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Page history last edited by David Lindsay 1 week, 2 days ago


The Parent Body now has its own website which carries links to all the film societies currently operating in New Zealand. You can access it here: http://www.nzfilmsociety.org.nz/


But to go back to the beginning...


The New Zealand Film Institute was founded in February 1947, when it was realized the Film Societies then operating in New Zealand and importing and hiring films individually would be better served by pooling their films and resources. Since then, all importing of films for societies was arranged by the Institute, the separate societies thus spared the labour and frustration connected with such work. When the New Zealand Film Institute was established there were only five Film Societies requiring their services.


One issue the Film Institute had to face was the status of 16mm (sub-standard) film prints, in relation to the 35mm film prints used in the commercial industry. This subject was part of a Parliamentary Committee of Enquiry which began in May 1948. The Wellington Film Society's Monthly Film Bulletin June 1948 reported on the first week of sitting. In the Monthly Film Bulletin November 1949 edition, the editor John O'Shea, reported on the Parliamentary Committee's Report.


Proceedings of the second annual conference of the NZ Film Institute was reported in the Monthly Film Bulletin June 1949. The third annual conference was held in Auckland, as reported in Wellington's Monthly Film Bulletin March 1950. The fourth annual conference was held in Welliington in early February. The Monthly Film Bulletin May 1951 reported the President's Address.


The Monthly Film Bulletin of the Wellington Film Society, now renamed, in its issue of Films of the Month May 1954 carried an article called "The Institute" , which described the workings of the parent body for those members who may not have been familiar with it. The function of the NZ Film Institute was again covered in November 1955 with an article published in Sequence, written by Walter Scott, the chairman of the Working Committee.


At the Annual Meeting the following year, reported in March 1956, a President from Wellington was elected for the first time.


By 1957 the Annual Meeting of the Council of the New Zealand Film Institute, held in Wellington on Saturday 2 February, was attended by thirty delegates and observers, representing twelve Film Societies. But there were even more film societies than those attending as the President said in his address, reported in Sequence March 1957


Following on the favourable reception which greeted the first issue of the NZFI's Newsletter, the Working Committee decided to continue publication. In the second issue, in place of an editorial, they printed an article by the President of the New Zealand Film Institute, Mr Dennis Garrett: NZFI Newsletter August 1957


Pressure of work broke the pattern of quartery bulletins, the next issue being NZFI Newsletter March 1958. In the next issue, an article by Ngaere Nathan, then President of the New Zealand Film Institute, offered some sobering advice. See NZFI Newsletter June 1958. In the last issue of the year, Mr Leslie Cutts, who had been editor since the Newsletter's inception, announced his resignation as he was leaving for an extended visit to the United Kingdom and Europe. In his editorial he reported on the films section of the recent Annual Report to Parliament by the Internal Affairs Department. See NZFI Newsletter September 1958


1959 saw new people producing the Newsletter. Editor Donald Yeates of the Levin Film Society and Assistant Editor Laurie Lee of the Wellington Film Society. In their first issue they introduced all the members of the Working Committee. Also Treasurer Ron Ritchie outlined why Film Societies need to be Incorporated. See NZFI Newsletter July 1959. The  following issue, NZFI Newsletter October 1959 included a Reading List. Most of the rest of this issue reported on the Wellington Film Society's Winter Film School on AlfredHitchcock


The final NZFI Newsletter May 1960, introduced two new members of the Working Committee, and included an article by the new President.


By the early 1960s, with many fluctuations, the number of affiliated societies grew to over 50. That same May 1960 Newsletter listed from north to south, the societies that were operating that year: Kaikohe, Mangawhai, Wellsford, Helensville, Paremoremo, North Shore, Auckland, Kelston, Ardmore, Waiuku, Coromandel, Thames, Waihi, Hamilton, Te Mata, Putaruru, Mangakino, Te Puke, Rotorua, Te Kaha, Kaingaroa Forest, Taumarunui, Raetihi, New Plymouth, Eltham, Hawera, Patea, Gisborne, Ngatapa, Napier, Taradale, Palmerston North, Linton Camp, Pahiatua, Levin, Upper Hutt, Pinehaven, Lower Hutt, Wellington, Blenheim, Nelson, Mapua, Motueka, Greymouth, Christchurch, Ashburton, Timaru, Lake Tekapo, Otago University, Dunedin, Lawrence.


The following year the Arts Advisory Council halved the funding they had been supplying to support the Institute. The secretary was instructed to write in an effort have have the grant restored. Inlcuded was a summary of the aims and objects of The New Zealand Film Institute: ProgressTo1961


At the Annual Conference of the Institute in Wellington in January 1962, the New Zealand Film Institute changed its name to the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies Inc. This new name more correctly described its functions. This information was conveyed in the first issue of its new newsletter Newsreel May 1962, which expanded on the background to the name change. Also included was the text the retiring President gave at the Annual Conference.


The subject of Film Education was again taken up by John Blennerhassett in Newsreel September 1962. The following issue, Newsreel March 1963, turned out to be the only one for the year. It introduced a new member of the Working Committee, reminded Film Societies of objects of the Federation, and the subject of the need for film eduction was again taken up.


The next issue of Newsreel February 1964 devoted the whole issue to film education in schools, with two long articles, first by Gordon Mirams, then by John O'Shea. The issue of Sequence May 1965 reported on the Federation Conference held in January of that year. Only two further issues of Newsreel appear to have been produced. The issue of October 1965 consisted entirely of overseas articles, and the final issue a year later devoted itself to censors and censorship. You will find extracts from that issue, covering issues in New Zealand, in our section on CensorshipReform.


The 30th Annual Conference on Saturday 7 February 1976 was held at Victoria University of Wellington. This was a watershed year for the Film Society in New Zealand because growth had resulted in having to appoint a full-time employee as the workload had become too heavy for the willing volunteers. The Conference was opened by the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Hon D A Highet. The opening address was by the Federation President Mike Nicolaidi. The major speech was by David Gascoigne, in his role as Chairman of the Working Committee. There was also a rare Secretary's Report, from Rosemary Hope, describing her first several months in the job.



In March 2017, the members and delegates attending the Annual General Meeting of the NZ Federation of Film Societies held an anniversary dinner to mark its 70 years of existence. Most current members, and invited past members, enjoyed a pleasant evening at a local Chinese restaurant. One current member of the Management Committee got a surprise. Without his knowledge, colleagues and family ascertained that he was the longest-serving member of the committee, and presented him with a certificate to mark the occasion. At the subsequent meeting of the Working Committee, Peter Goodbehere formally thanked the committee and outlined his Life as a Film Lover .









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