TVNZ traces historic letters to modern ancestors to tell Anzac stories

This year, 25 April marks the centennial anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli, a poignant moment that to this day serves a reminder of the solidarity that holds the Antipodes together.

Given the national interest driven by the event, TVNZ has planned a range of programming dedicated to the infamous moment in history. And in an effort to spread early awareness, the broadcaster has launched a campaign called ‘Letters from our past … delivered to our future’ tells the stories of soldiers who fought in the battle.

The campaign features a series of 12 Kiwis reading letters that were written by their ancestors who lost their lives during the war.   

This year marks the centenary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli. To pay tribute, we asked a small group of Kiwis to read letters sent home by their great, great relatives #anzacletters

Posted by TV One on Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Throughout the month of April the clips will be broadcast on TV One and online at a specially dedicated microsite, where viewers can get a more in-depth look at the letters and post their own.

The concept of using letters to cross generations was developed and produced by the commissioning team and producer Paul Dodge, with support from TVNZ’s Blacksand.   

The TVNZ team researched 12 letters written during WW1 from the National Army Museum, Waipu Museum and Auckland Museum, tracing the descendants of these letters and asking them to read them for the campaign. 

“The readers were asked to find a place they were thankful for and this is where they read the letters written by their relatives,” says Dodge.
TVNZ marketing manager Tim Aitken says that the campaign was inspired by the importance of family and how generations have passed stories on over the years, keeping them alive.

“When you think of Anzac Day one of the things you feel most strongly is the importance of family, and how it would feel if our children and families had to go through what this generation did,” says Aitken. “We wanted to tie the generations together and acknowledge what our descendants went through to enable the lives we enjoy now.”

Although the campaign doesn’t explicitly mention any programming associated with Anzac Day, it has clearly been launched with the intention of driving interest in the event and thereby the programming that accompanies it. 

Last year, when TVNZ unveiled its lineup for the year, TVNZ’s general manager of programming John Kelly chose the Anzac periodical When we Go to War as one of his picks of the year:

“I think one of our key big titles for TV One is When we Go to War. I’ve seen a little bit of it, because the commission does give me a look at it. It’s amazing. I nearly had a tear in my eye when I watched the opening titles. They’ve just done such a fantastic job with it. A show like that takes a really long time. It’s been a long, long time coming, and that’s why when we’re planning drama, in particular, we’re already working out our plans for the following year.”

This show is currently being promoted on the TVNZ Facebook page, and the broadcaster will no doubt hope it attracts decent ratings when it launches on 26 April.      

Credit list:

TVNZ Production and Commissioning  
Original Creative Concept: Paul Dodge
Executive Producer TVNZ Commissioning: Tina Mc Laren
Producer/ Director: Paul Dodge
Executive Creative Director: Greg Hughes (Blacksand)
Creative Director: Jens Hertzum (Blacksand)
DOP: Gavin Stroud
Production Manager: Vanessa Clarke
Research /Casting: Paul Dodge/ Vanessa Clarke  
Post Production Producer: Ben Alpers (Blacksand)

TVNZ Blacksand
Creative Director: Greg Hughes
Creative Producer: Ben Alpers
Colour Grade: Daniel Habedank
Audio Design: Roger Green
DOP: Richard Parsons
Campaign Producer: Lindsay Gough
Senior Creative Director: Jens Hertzum
Camera Assist: Bevan Jones
Gaffer/Grip: Spencer Lock-Bonney
Art Dept: Angus Kerr
Graphic Design:  Jennifer Parker
Production Co-ordinator: Sarah Zwart
Marketing Manager: Tim Aitken / Aimee Palmer
TVNZ Blacksand
Amie Mills: Senior Digital Producer
Samantha Taylor: Digital Producer

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