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History of censorship - 1896

First film screening in NZ


The first public film screening in New Zealand was in Auckland on October 13, 1896. Professors Hausmann and Gow introduced 'Edison's latest marvel, the Kinematograph', with which they showed a programme of short films - the first public film projection in New Zealand. The screening was part of a show by Charles Godfrey's Vaudeville Company, a circumstance that was not unusual for early cinema. Still a new form of entertainment, film was often shown alongside lantern slides and the musical phonograph.

The films screened by Godfrey's company included a bathing scene on the sands at Folkestone; a street scene in Leeds; a scene from the Milk White Flag; boys leaving school; a dancing girl with limelight effects; and the Bristol Railway Station with trains entering and departing.

The day after the screening, the New Zealand Herald reported that the reproductions showed the marvellous ingenuity of the inventor. 'Everything moved as though in life: in fact, it was life reproduced. So natural was it that the moving figures on the screen were cheered.'

From the New Zealand Film Archive

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