On 3 November 1969 at 7:35pm history was created when Dougal Stevenson read the first network news bulletin on NZBC (now TVNZ). The live broadcast was simultaneously transmitted on a series of microwave links around the country.
Philip Sherry, Dougal Stevenson and the late Bill Toft were the first
network news readers and shared the nightly presenting role equally on a rotating roster.
Prior to that date, all television broadcasts were regional. Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin had their own TV channels that broadcast between 2-7 hours a day and often included regional news bulletins.
The historic first broadcast wasn’t recorded – the first network news
bulletin was watched by all viewers for the first time at the same time
but has never been seen again. News stories and pictures were archived
but the full bulletin including story intros read by news presenters
weren’t routinely recorded until the mid-1980s.
Forty years on, TVNZ is prepping a celebration for 25 November.
All of the former prime time network news presenters and news bosses and have been invited to the Auckland Television Centre for the evening so TVNZ can recognise the contribution they made to our news heritage.
“The event is an opportunity to say thank you to all of the people who have helped create a trusted news brand that is highly valued today”, said news and current affairs head Anthony Flannery.
For the benefit of digital natives, Flannery explained, “In the early days the small amounts of actual footage in the news was often days old before it arrived in New Zealand. There were no satellite feeds, little ability to include breaking news, no technology to report live from the scene, and there were no cameras in court or parliament.”
To mark the anniversary, and to remind us of the fashion crimes of our youth, TVNZ has uploaded a small selection of old news items here.