Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Memories of the news

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  • Russell Brown,

    Ha, that was quick! From the first five minutes on Twitter:

    "The death of Elvis."

    "The Wahine sinking."

    "Norman Kirk died."

    "Mt Erebus."

    "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."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Carol Stewart,

    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.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report

  • Raymond A Francis,

    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.

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report

  • Gaz Tayler,

    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
    Silver Jubilee

    all before I was 10...

    Auckland • Since Aug 2012 • 14 posts Report

  • warren mac,

    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...

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 9 posts Report

  • Thomas Lumley,

    The Dismissal.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 50 posts Report

  • Carol Stewart,

    Carless days. Imagine trying to enforce such a measure now.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report

  • Rob Stowell,

    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.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2120 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    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.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Carol Stewart,

    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.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report

  • Bruce Ward,

    The death of King George VI in 1952. I was 7 and remember the large black newspaper front pages.

    Nelson • Since Jul 2011 • 33 posts Report

  • Paul Campbell,

    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)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report

  • Matt Godfrey,

    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.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report

  • Emma Hart,

    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.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    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.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 265 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Responses to my original tweet are still rockin' on.

    It's fascinating how this exercise provides a demographic picture that wasn't apparent before.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Heather Gaye,

    I was vaguely aware of Muldoon's Think Big projects; specifically Marsden Point.

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 533 posts Report

  • Francisco Blaha,

    man on the moon. I was 5! ( will ask my son that is 15 and let you know)

    Since Dec 2006 • 18 posts Report

  • Andre,

    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.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 371 posts Report

  • Brent Jackson,

    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.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report

  • Jean Hughes,

    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

    Mangere • Since Nov 2006 • 89 posts Report

  • sandra,

    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.

    tauranga • Since Dec 2011 • 72 posts Report

  • Joe Boden,

    Watergate. I'm 50 (almost 51) and the story broke in late 1972.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 97 posts Report

  • Andy Fyfe,

    The death of Norman Kirk and Nixon's impeachment in the same month defined most of my politics.

    UK • Since Aug 2011 • 4 posts Report

  • sandra,

    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.

    tauranga • Since Dec 2011 • 72 posts Report

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