Story: Love and romance

Ōtira social dance, 1948

Ōtira is a small railway settlement on the West Coast side of the Ōtira tunnel, which links the east and west coasts of the South Island. Ōtira residents and others along the railway line would meet for a Friday-night dance in the local hall. Dancers in their best clothes glide across the floor in this 1948 documentary on railway workers and their families, while a lone piano player supplies the music. People would travel to Ōtira for these dances on the slow train, which stopped at all the little local stations along the line. These events were one of the few ways single people could meet potential partners.

Using this item

Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: Railway Worker. National Film Unit, 1948

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How to cite this page:

Rosemary Du Plessis, 'Love and romance - Dances, love and courtship, 1840 to 1950', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 May 2024)

Story by Rosemary Du Plessis, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 1 May 2017