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Covid unity recalls Expo ‘70 film’s national pride

Our collective response as a team of five million to an unseen enemy named Covid-19 is reawakening pride in our beautiful country and creating a new sense of national unity.

Because of the fast-paced lives we have led for many years, sometimes it feels we have forgotten to appreciate our country’s natural beauty and who we are as a nation.

But something familiar is tugging at our heart-strings as we rediscover, and begin to celebrate, a New Zealand we are proud to call home.

In the 1970s we were wowed, and politicians brought to tears, by a 20-minute documentary called This is New Zealand.

It was made to showcase our nation to the citizens of Japan when it hosted World Expo in Osaka in 1970.

Watershed moment for NZ film-making
It would later be written that when This is New Zealand opened in Japan in early 1970 no one could have known that this would also be a watershed moment in New Zealand film-making history.

When Expo ‘70 ended, the special projection equipment was shipped back to New Zealand and the film shown in the four main centres, becoming a national sensation. It made us proud to live in Aotearoa.

The film’s three screens simultaneously showed pictures of New Zealand’s culture, landscape, art and ordinary people to a backing track of the majestic orchestral music Karelia Suite written by composer, Sibelius.

People queued in the streets outside the cinemas and many left visibly moved by what they had seen.

Captured the country’s spirit
At Wellington’s Embassy Theatre, the film made a big impression on a young Pukerua schoolboy named Peter Jackson.

A few years ago in a documentary about the film and Expo ‘70 he recalled leaving the theatre thinking Karelia Suite was the country’s new national anthem.

He said the film captured something of the spirit of the country, which was usually missing from today’s media who presented only facts.

The 1970 World Expo was the first time Japan had hosted it and was the first time New Zealand had taken part. Our involvement was partly prompted by Britain joining the EEC.

For more: https://dailyencourager.co.nz/covid-unity-recalls-expo-70-films-national-pride/

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