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Roadside Stories: Listen for Unique Tales of Aotearoa NZ

31 August 2011

Roadside Stories goes live – listen in for unique tales of Aotearoa New Zealand

Roadside Stories - an entertaining, free audio guide designed for domestic and international tourists - launches today to coincide with Rugby World Cup 2011 as part of the REAL New Zealand festival.

Roadside Stories comprises more than 100 short anecdotal tales about New Zealand’s history, places, people and events. Award-winning playwright Dave Armstrong has scripted the stories under the direction of prominent historian Dr. Jock Phillips and his team at Manatū Taonga/Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

“Roadside Stories will give people new to New Zealand the chance to hear about us. Each story lasts about 3-4 minutes. They’re downloadable – free – then you just hit play, and listen to the stories while driving, taking a walk on a beach or getting around a bustling city” says Jock Phillips.

Dave Armstrong drew on the Kiwi vernacular for inspiration. “I loved getting into the real history of New Zealand – we’ve got entries about Tangiwai, the building of the Auckland Harbour Bridge and characters like Fred Dagg,” he says. “I think it’s such a great opportunity for people to hear about us from our own perspective”.

Archival material from Sound Archives on many of the stories has made them lively and authentic, as have the actors who read the stories, dramatising them in a range of Kiwi voices. “It’s been such a fun project, and we’re really looking forward to visitors connecting with us in such an easy and interesting way” says Armstrong.

Briony Ellis, the Director of the REAL New Zealand Festival came up with the idea of an audio guide when thinking about how visitors and locals would be travelling between matches. “The REAL New Zealand Festival is all about celebrating ourselves, our stories, our people, our cultures and these fantastic Roadside Stories embody all of that. They're the stories and the histories that are not always evident when you look out the car window - they're such a great way to understand more about our country and people,” she says. “Whether you're a New Zealander or a visitor these stories are 'the real oil' on our place!".

Roadside Stories has been created to complement Rugby World Cup 2011 as part of the REAL New Zealand Festival, but the ongoing value of the project to New Zealanders and the tourism industry is significant, “New Zealand has so many amazing personalities and events that the world should know about, and this is a great way of getting those tales out into the community” says Jock Phillips.

But where to start? With more than 100 stories to choose from Jock and Dave have listed some of their favourite stories for a stimulating introduction to New Zealand:

• Papawai – the first Māori capital
• Queenstown adventures
• Dunedion’s Bards
• Lake Papaitonga
• The Moeraki boulders
• Nelson - birthplace of New Zealand rugby
• Island Romance in Lake Rotorua
• Rocky horror in Hamilton
• The towering Southern Alps
• Len Lye – composing motion

Download Roadside Stories free from the Manatū Taonga website:

Look out for Roadside Stories coming to the iTunes store and as a phone app soon!

To watch stills images with the stories visit:


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