Great Liners: New Zealand (4)

 It was with delight that I have discovered the “Great Liner” series of videos produced by Snowbow Productions. This remarkable series of videos now form part of the world’s most comprehensive collection of film records of our once glorious Merchant Navy when British ships from an enormous and diverse range of shipping companies were to be found in every port around the World. The searching out and collating of film and archive footage by the director Des Cox started out 15 years ago as a small project to try to collate and preserve as many records as possible of the ships and seafaring life on video before they were lost forever. Being presented on a series of one hour videos the collection, produced by Des, his wife and a small production team have now reached video number 21 with number 22 in the pipeline to be released as funds permit. Like many such projects born from a dedicated purpose and a professional knowledge of the subject matter, the results are more than just a mere record with the images being enlivened by an informative commentary detailing the names of the ships, cargoes carried and contemporary anecdotes. Reviewing the latest video in the series on shipping companies trading to New Zealand the wry commentary revived nostalgic memories of the days when ships still had large crews and jolly Jack Tar made the most of lengthy stays in port to enjoy a good run ashore to sample all the available delights! Interspersed with some contemporary footage of NZ ports and shipping, this video brings the dramatic changes of the last 50 years starkly into perspective. With today’s fast port turnarounds, 24 hour working and virtually no time for shore leave it all begs the question have we really progressed? Watching these videos the answer is a resounding NO! From a pilot’s viewpoint this particular video is worth buying for the last few seconds that depict an acrobatic pilot mimicking Tarzan transferring from the pilot ladder to cutter by means of a single manrope and then vaulting over the cutter‘s rails before giving a cheery wave to the Rangitata leaving NZ waters on its final voyage in 1962. Priceless, and I look forward to being contacted by someone who can provide me with the name of the pilot! The 21 videos so far produced contain footage of all the major shipping companies, much of which has come from private collections never before shown. With each video having a specific theme the contents of each one are too numerous to list here but a catalogue containing full details can be obtained from:

Snowbow Productions (2000) Ltd.

145 The promenade, Peacehaven, E. Sussex BN10 7HN

The cost of each video is :

£16.95 plus £1.00 P&P for the UK, £2.00 EEC and £4.00 overseas.

Tel/ credit card order line: 01273 585391

Fax: 01273 584470


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