Hard News: Memories of the news
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Ha, that was quick! From the first five minutes on Twitter:
"The death of Elvis."
"The Wahine sinking."
"Norman Kirk died."
"Helicopters being thrown from ships after the fall of Saigon."
"End of the Vietnam War."
"John Lennon's death."
"Tiananmen, then the coup against Gorbachev."
"Wellington's last tram. 1964. I was 3."
"I first thought Wahine then realised that was before I was born, the mind plays tricks! So probably Elvis for some random reason."
The moon landing, as a small child who'd just started school. Teacher had the radio (or was it the TV?) on in the classroom.
And then - Mt Erebus, where the news filtered in to Whitianga Marae where I was on a school camp.
Tangiwai disaster, I remember discussing it with my father, arguing actually but not what we disagreed on though.
I would have been 4 at the time.
Aside from being confused between MASH and the Vietnam War coverage on the news (helicopters, soldiers in Asia).
Specific events, not in order:
Death of Elvis - came home to my Mum in tears
Erebus - announced over the school intercom
Strikes in Britain
Oil Crisis - fighting in Israel/Egypt, OPEC pricing and carless days
Launch of Skylab
all before I was 10...
Going back (was born in 82)
GST coming in
Sharemarket crash - seem to have ingrained memories of the word redundancy without a clue what it meant at the time at the time
Oliver North's face - so - Iran Contra
Tienanmen Square - the iconic man vs tank
87 Rugby World Cup
Got a funny feeling my son, who is 5, will say - Donald Trump and Jacinda...
Carless days. Imagine trying to enforce such a measure now.
Wahine sinking feels like the first. But that's mixed up with the storm itself, which was eventful enough. For a young lad in an environment of trees and boats, it was intensely dramatic: not just no power or school for days - all the moored boats in Diamond Harbour bar one were destroyed; and many huge trees came down, all over the place, leaving great gaping holes in the ground, like shell-holes, some of which filled with water.
And then the moon landing; the whole class, listening on the radio at Diamond Harbour school, and staring up at the moon that night, knowing there were people up there, still on its surface.
Actually, I've realised that the Wahine storm is actually my first news memory, having been a couple of months before Robert Kennedy was shot.
I remember being kept home from school and gazing out the window at the weather, and a general sense of dread more than the sinking of the vessel itself.
I didn't really register the Wahine sinking, partly because I was very young and perhaps also because we didn't have a TV at home. NZHistory says:
The Wahine’s demise also marked a coming of age for television news broadcasting in New Zealand as images of the disaster were beamed into the nation’s living rooms.
The death of King George VI in 1952. I was 7 and remember the large black newspaper front pages.
In my case it might have been the arrival of TV, and the extreme unfairness that we didn’t have one when it started (not realising at 5 that we lived in a very working class suburb, and our parents probably couldn’t afford one …. but we owned our own house on a 99 year 3% govt backed mortgage)
On April 26th, 1986 as a 9-year-old, I had the day off school due to being sick or something. The midday news was all about Chernobyl.
As far as remembering something as a news story goes, it was Erebus. But I vividly remember the day Elvis died, because the woman from downstairs came up to see Mum in absolute floods of tears and I was very confused.
The launch of the space shuttle Columbia, in April 1981. I was 6. I was so excited I made my own version from Lego to take to school.
Responses to my original tweet are still rockin' on.
It's fascinating how this exercise provides a demographic picture that wasn't apparent before.
I was vaguely aware of Muldoon's Think Big projects; specifically Marsden Point.
man on the moon. I was 5! ( will ask my son that is 15 and let you know)
One of my first news memories was of my dad's cousin, NZ's Ron Holland designing the yacht Eygthene, and winning the 1973 Quarter Ton Cup. Since this was obviously a much-discussed win in our household, I can remember this from when I was 3 or 4 years-old. Wings releasing Band on the Run. The 1974 Commonwealth Games, especially Dick Tayler winning the 10,000 metres. Norm Kirk passing away and the arrival of Rob Muldoon the next year in 1975. Queen releasing "Bohemian Rhapsody" the same year. The Viking program to Mars in 1975 with the first colour photos. The Thrilla in Manila in 1975 between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The 1976 All Black tour of South Africa with Beegee Williams and the 1976 Olympics with John Walker, Dick Quax and Rod Dixon. And Nadia Comaneci. I can remember almost all local and international events from then on in - I was a compulsive newspaper reader and TV1 News viewer.
The first TV news story I can definitely remember is the Munich Olympics massacre, because my family rented a TV from the August School Holidays until Christmas, and I watched the Olympic Games coverage every day when I got home from school.
as I posted - on your twitter - am typing this with eyes wide open and slightly gulping -
Opo the dolphin summer - we went up North - and then his death - I was devastated - still so upset when I see references to it
the feeling never goes
1964: Peter Snell winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics (we can’t have had a TV for very long).
1968: Wahine storm and disaster. We didn’t go to school that day because of the storm and I remember my father tied down the boatshed roof (actually a lean-to on the side of another building) by lashing it all to the tractor! The images of the sinking were sort of equal with that in my young mind.
1969: Apollo 11 Moon landing – our country primary school (2 rooms, 30 pupils) had a black and white TV set up in the primer room where we all sat on the mat and watched (was it because that room also had a wood-burning heater? and/or because that was an historic 1875 building?)
1973: Bulls Bridge collapse. It was always such a strong-looking structure and I’d crossed it many, many times.
1974: Norman Kirk dies.
1975: Election of Marilyn Waring.
1976: John Walker winning gold in Montreal (and watching it with my great-aunt).
After I became a journalist, the first major stories that stick with me are:
1979: Erebus - the terrible news (was it Dougal Stevenson?) that the fuel would have gone.
1980: Death of Azaria Chamberlain and everything that followed.
Watergate. I'm 50 (almost 51) and the story broke in late 1972.
The death of Norman Kirk and Nixon's impeachment in the same month defined most of my politics.
Just asked my son, who is 21 ....
September 11, 2001. As a 5-year-old he would have seen the images on TV when his parents were watching in the morning.
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