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Pioneer podcasts

Pioneer podcasts tell the stories of the University’s early days and its ground-breaking alumni

They provide an understanding and appreciation of people, events, and places.


The Otago Medical School

Two radio talks about the Otago Medical School by Dr W. E. Adams. In the first he reviews the history of the school and the second looks at teaching and research.

Interview with Dr W. E. Adams. RNZ collection, Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision ID31761

Janet Frame

In this rare radio interview, Janet Frame, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated writers, talks about her book To the Is-land, and misconceptions that all her works are heavily autobiographical.

Interview with Janet Frame, 1983. RNZ collection, Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision ID26860

Dame Alison Holst DNZM CBE QSM

Dame Alison talks to Jim Sullivan about her career in broadcasting, from 1960 to 1980, with particular focus on her work as a television cooking personality. Dame Alison graduated from Otago with a BHSc in 1959 and was awarded a HonDSc in 1997.

TVNZ Oral History Project. Interview with Alison Holst, 1985. RNZ collection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision ID15358

Tui Flower QSM

Former New Zealand Women’s Weekly Food Editor Tui Flower talks about her career in “pre-culinary aware” New Zealand, from 1965 onwards.

City Talk with David Steemson. Interview with Tui Flower, 1998 RNZ collection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision ID25160

University of Otago Centennial 1969

This documentary by the Radio New Zealand National Programme marks Otago’s centennial in 1969.  The documentary looks at the development and history of the University and includes multiple speakers, including Sir John Walsh, Dr Dorothy Page and Professor W. E. Adams.

Dare to Be Wise, 1969. RNZ collection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision ID27459

Sir Archibald McIndoe CBE

This recording is a report from Britain in 1960 via shortwave radio, on the death of pioneering plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe.  Sir Archibald set up the Plastic Surgery and Jaw Injury Centre at Queen Victoria Hospital in Sussex, treating airmen disfigured in World War II and developing many of the principles of burns treatment still used today.

Death of Sir Archibald McIndoe, 1960. RNZ collection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision ID147833

Dame Cecily Pickerill DBE

Dame Cecily Pickerill, one of New Zealand’s early plastic surgeons, talks about her childhood, education and work with her husband, plastic surgery pioneer and founding Dean of the Otago Dental School, Dr Henry Percival Pickerill CBE.

Dame Cecily Pickerill, 1977. RNZ collection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision ID246767

Dr Muriel Bell CBE

Pioneering Otago medical researcher and nutritionist, Dr Muriel Bell talks about how she came to be interested in nutrition and her involvement in establishing dietetics on a professional basis in New Zealand.

Dr Muriel Bell, 1964. RNZ collection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision ID30024

Dr Emily Siedeberg McKinnon

Dr Emily Siedeberg McKinnon, the University of Otago’s first female medical graduate talks about her time at Otago, the challenges she faced, her work at Seacliff hospital and as a GP in Dunedin (and how in 1913 she became the second woman in Dunedin to drive a car). She graduated in 1896.

Looking Backwards: Dr McKinnon, 1952. RNZ collection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision ID35768

Sir Peter Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa)

Sir Peter Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa), Otago’s first Māori graduate, addresses a civic reception held in his honour in Dunedin in 1949.  He talks about his early days as a medical student in Dunedin, his work in the Health Department, his political career, military service in World War I, anthropology and the Bishop Museum in Hawaii.  He graduated with an MB ChB in1904.

Civic Reception, Sir Peter Buck, 1949. RNZcollection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision ID2177

Archival sound recordings courtesy of RNZ and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision.

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