52 years from first official TV broadcast to digital

Friday 1 June 2012, 4:53PM
By Going Digital

The first official broadcast in New Zealand occurred on 1 June 1960 and now 52 years later the country is preparing to go digital.

New Zealand television will start to go digital on 30 September when Hawke’s Bay and the West Coast, including Murchison and St Arnaud make the move. All of the country will be digital by the end of 2013.

Looking back to 1 June 1960, the first official television broadcast in New Zealand began at 7.30pm and could only be seen in Auckland. Programming ran for three hours and included an episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood, a live interview with a visiting British ballerina and a performance by the Howard Morrison Quartet.

A lot has changed in New Zealand TV over the past 52 years but not everything as even a TV used back in the 1960s can go digital with the right equipment says Going Digital National Manager Greg Harford.

“Every TV, even really old ones, can go digital with the right set-top box and a UHF aerial or satellite dish,” said Mr Harford.

Television was introduced to New Zealand in stages much like to move to digital 52 years later. Television was only available in Auckland in the first year of transmission, Christchurch was the second region to get TV in June 1961 followed by Wellington four weeks later and then Dunedin in July 1962.

By 1965 the four stations were broadcasting seven nights a week – a total of 50 hours. There was no national network and each centre saw local programmes. Overseas shows were flown from centre to centre and played in different cities in successive weeks.

“Today 52 years later as the country prepares to go digital the range of channels available and the picture quality will be a marked improvement on what was enjoyed in the 1960s,” said Mr Harford.

For further information on how to go digital visit or call 0800 838 800.