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Lure of the Trail
Programme No. 13: Urewera Country
NZ Department of Tourist & Publicity, 1939

Panorama of Lake Waikaremoana, Te Urewera National Park, New Zealand. Poster by Kahu Publishing

In the late 1930s the New Zealand Department of Tourist and Publicity produced a series of radio programmes to encourage New Zealanders to holiday within New Zealand rather than travelling overseas.


This series, entitled "Lure of the Trail", was produced by Radio Features Ltd and aired on the National Commercial Broadcasting Service stations 1ZB (Auckland), 2ZB (Wellington), 3ZB (Christchurch) and 4ZB (Dunedin).

In this episode our narrator travels the then recently new road from Wairoa, on the East Coast of New Zealand's North Island, to Rotorua, now New Zealand State Highway 38.

Map showing the road described in this programme, now State Highway 38. Image: Koru Enterprises

Leaving Wairoa we travel inland to arrive at Lake Waikaremoana, where we stop to take refreshments at the Lake House.

Early NZ travel advertisement designed by Marcus King.

Travelling on, the road enters the rugged Urewera Country, now the Te Urewera National Park.

Urewera National Park Poster By Craig Potton.

Travelling in this area was tougher back in the early days...

Police party on Old Road, Ruatahuna. Breckon, Arthur Ninnis, 1887-1965. Ref: PA1-o-042-49-4. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22767104

Record label

Digital audio © Radio Heritage Foundation

Maori children surround one of the first cars to arrive in Ruatahuna. Ref: 1/2-030862-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22889133

A gathering of high ranking chiefs of Mataatua and Arawa tribes, in front of the Mataatua Meeting House ca 1940s. Includes: Apirana, Timutimu, Hemi Huata, Tomarau, Mr Laughton, Wharetini Rangi, Nomena Whakamoe - Tamaiti-o-Takuta and brother to Matamua, Paerino, Te Pairi, Pakitu, Te Waiunu, Queenie, Takuta, Whatanui, Meta Tapoki, Te Aranga, Tahuri, Pomare, Kohiti, Te Kawa, Te Whenua, Ruatoto. Ref: 1/2-030888-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22317214

GTB ad

"All roads lead to home, and the Government Tourist Bureau knows all the roads"

Record docket

Transfer docket between the ZB stations © Radio Heritage Foundation

These records were found in a library sale in New York by one of our supporters, who donated them by hand during a cruise to New Zealand!

The recordings are 12" 33⅓ rpm records that play from the inside out.

In the 1980s a similar media campaign was run using the catchphrase, "Don't leave town till you've seen the country", a slogan which is still part of the Kiwi vernacular today.

Record packaging

Some of the well-travelled packaging originally use to ship these records around NZ © Radio Heritage Foundation


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