Images of past to be screened

Edwardian passengers board TSS Earnslaw, as seen in the short film Sculling and Steamer on Lake Wakatipu (1905-16), one of the rare film clips to be screened in Arrowtown on Thursday. Photo supplied.
Edwardian passengers board TSS Earnslaw, as seen in the short film Sculling and Steamer on Lake Wakatipu (1905-16), one of the rare film clips to be screened in Arrowtown on Thursday. Photo supplied.
Flickering ghost-like images of people and places from the Wakatipu's past will be seen by the public for the first time in decades in free screenings celebrating the 150th anniversary of the discovery of gold in Arrowtown.

The Queenstown Film Society and the New Zealand Film Archive, with the support of Central Lakes Trust, Arrowtown 150 and Millbrook Resort, will present the programme Arrowtown 150 Historical Film Shows twice on October 18.

The film clips of the Wakatipu date back to the dawn of the 20th century. Many of the older clips have only been preserved in the last few years and have never been screened publicly.

Queenstown Film Society committee members Alison Dench (left), of Arrowtown, and Debbie Nelson, of Queenstown, help prepare the collection of rare historical movie clips for screening on Thursday. Photo by James Beech.
Queenstown Film Society committee members Alison Dench (left), of Arrowtown, and Debbie Nelson, of Queenstown, help prepare the collection of rare historical movie clips for screening on Thursday. Photo by James Beech.
They provide an entertaining look at the history of the area, from footage of Queenstown in 1905 and a reunion of old gold miners in 1911, to 1970s hotdogging ski antics at Coronet Peak.

There will also be footage of the 1962 centennial celebrations, produced by noted New Zealand film-maker Rudall Hayward.

The first 40 minutes of the 70-minute screening will feature silent films. Queenstown pianist Cheryl Collie will play an accompaniment.

Society committee members Alison Dench, Cristina Robinson, Debbie Nelson and Jo Blick worked for more than a year gathering the clips with the help of the New Zealand Film Archive and sourced funding in time for the gold anniversary celebrations on October 19 to 22.

"It's fascinating, I'm particularly excited about the early movies, going back to 1905," Ms Dench said.

"The Reunion of New Zealand's Pioneer Miners was given to the film archive by a grandson of the man who organised the reunion and it is a clip of very rugged looking men you can imagine 50 years earlier being part of the gold rush in Otago."

Ms Nelson said the volunteers had all watched Flare: A Ski Trip from 1977, "which is good for a laugh with its fabulous '70s ski clothes, if nothing else, and Sam Neill directed it, so it has a second local connection."


Programme
A Reunion of New Zealand's Pioneer Miners (1911)
A recently rediscovered clip of old miners from the gold rush days, assembled in a Dunedin street. The reunion was organised to celebrate the 50th jubilee of the 1861 Gabriel's Gully rush.

Sculling and Steamer on Lake Wakatipu (1905-16)
Never-before-seen very early film of activities on the lake.

Queenstown Scenes No. 2 (1925)
A visit to the Kawarau Dam, where explosives are set off and water races through the dam gates.

In Days of Gold: A Tale of the Shotover (1928)
A New Zealand Government Publicity Office presentation. Grandad Healy recreates the early days of gold mining in the area for his grandson, Mickey.

Children of the Gold Rush (1962)
The first Arrowtown gold rush re-enactment, for the centenary in 1962, was filmed by director Rudall Hayward.

Wakatipu: The Long Lake (1955)
In 1954, Brian Brake headed south for the National Film Unit to capture rich colour film of the Wakatipu.

Notes on a New Zealand Town (1971)
Harking back to the beginning of Queenstown's tourism boom, elderly American tourists talk about their experiences in the resort, taking the gondola and panning for gold.

Flare: A Ski Trip (1977)
Sam Neill is a former director of the National Film Unit. In this enjoyable blast from the past, he shows a revolutionary new style of skiing: freestyle. Including footage of skiing legends in gloriously retro skiwear at Coronet Peak.

TV3 News (2004)
News coverage of then prime minister Helen Clark opening the Chinese settlement in Arrowtown as part of the government's restitution for discrimination against early Chinese settlers.

Kaho Naa . . . Pyaar Hai (Say You Love Me) (2000)
A deliciously over-the-top song from the highest-grossing Indian film of 2000. Set in Queenstown, it put New Zealand-location shooting on the Bollywood map.

• Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall, Thursday, October 18, 5pm and 7.30pm