New Zealand Studies: A Guide to Bibliographic Resources
There is no comprehensive published listing of films made in New Zealand, or films about New Zealand made elsewhere, either current or retrospective. Film features as a 'library material' to be included in the 'national collection' developed and maintained by the National Library of New Zealand (National Library Act, 1965), but the National Library has not collected film nor become involved in the bibliographical control of the national film output. The compulsory deposit legislation (Copyright Act, S.64) does not require the deposit of films or sound recordings. The current National Bibliography includes sound recordings but not films. The copyright laws do not require registration of films and it seems that the only official requirement is that of registration, for censorship purposes, under the Cinematograph Films Act of 1928. A register, under this Act and its predecessor of 1916, is available to the public, and in recent years lists of films registered have been published in the New Zealand Gazette.
The major producer of documentary films in New Zealand, the National Film Unit (a government agency), published 'catalogues' of its films for sale or hire in 1958, 1967, 1973 and 1977, but these are defective as bibliographical records. The New Zealand Film Archive, a new body, published in 1981 the first bibliographic fruits of its researches into the history of New Zealand films, a 'Filmography' of New Zealand government films 1922-1941 in The Tin Shed: the Origins of the National Film Unit page 21 (pp. 23-36). A 'Filmography: NZ Fiction Features' is included (pp. 14-15) in Clive Sowry's Film Making in New Zealand: a Brief Historical Survey (Wellington, 1984). The Archive drew heavily on the only comprehensive listing of films in New Zealand, the registers and indexes compiled by the Censor of Films from 1916. The Archive is compiling, from the same source, a complete list of all New Zealand made films which it plans to publish. The National Film Unit has a card file listing its weekly newsreels, 'Weekly Review', from 1941 to 1950, and 'Pictorial Parade' from 1952 to 1971, together with other National Film Unit productions.
The New Zealand Film Commission, a government agency charged with assisting the newly-developed feature film industry, issues from time to time ephemeral lists of feature films for publicity purposes. For some time to come the main bibliographic resources for New Zealand film will continue to be the card files compiled in the National Film Unit and the New Zealand Film Archive.