The New Zealand National Film Unit’s ‘Weekly Review’ and ‘Pictorial Parade’ film series were inscribed on the New Zealand Memory of the World Register in 2011.
In October another milestone for the collection was celebrated. The Archives New Zealand Film Preservation team completed a 4-year project to preserve the New Zealand National Film Unit film and sound reels, including those inscribed on the New Zealand national register.
The preservation of these films saw the original films copied from acetate film stock to new, polyester film stock. This will increase the life of the films by up to 500 years. To do this the team preserved 2.36 million feet of picture and sound footage. That’s 1,300 films made up of 3,198 separate picture and sound reels.
The project was made possible when film processing equipment was made available by a New Zealand company called Park Road Post Production. The small team of technicians who worked on the project have extensive training in film grading, printing and processing and many of the them started their careers with the production company that provided the equipment.
The National Film Unit was a New Zealand government department which operated between 1941 and 1989. The unit captured a wide variety of news and general interest stories and contributed to the cultural identity of mid-twentieth century New Zealand.
The preservation team will now start work on preserving other film held at Archives New Zealand.
Some of the NFU films have previously been digitised and can be viewed on Archives’ YouTube channel.