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50th Anniversary of NZ TV Workshop's Launch

50th Anniversary of NZ TV Workshop's Launch to Be Marked By New Website

Fifty years ago today (August 1), the NZBC National News carried a brief story about the formation of the New Zealand Television Workshop in Wellington.

The NZ TV Workshop became one of the world's first public access TV groups which offered some basic training at the community level. Its simple goal was to improve the quality of New Zealand television production and steer it away from some of the commercial influences. The Workshop was not associated with the NZBC.

This was New Zealand a year before the invasion of The Beatles who had a considerable impact on TV entertainment programming around the world. They had not yet conquered the United States.

Although the TV Workshop was only to last a couple of years, its main contribution to New Zealand culture was probably the introduction of the first National TV Awards in 1964. The Winged Harlequins were designed by Greer Twiss.

The Workshop was founded by Terry Browne, Harry Sharp, James Wallace, and Clive Court.

Court, now a retired communications teacher living in Toronto, has just started a website to mark the 50th anniversary of the Workshop's launch and invites former members to contribute their stories and photographs. The web address is www.newzealandtvworkshop.org

Court, who left Auckland early in 1965, said "I believe that during its brief existence, the TV Workshop set some interesting guidelines for the future of New Zealand TV--with its small viewing audience and increasing pressures from commercial interests--they were in keeping with its stated goal "Towards Better Television."

ENDS

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