In 1946 the National Broadcasting Service set up the Mobile Disc Recording Unit, whose purpose was to collect the reminiscences of 19th-century settlers. One unintended but highly useful consequence of this project was a record of the evolution of New Zealand pronunciation, which University of Canterbury researchers have studied. They found that people born in the 1850s and 1860s had accents similar to their parents, but those born in the 1870s and 1880s had a more uniform accent – it was similar to that of people living in other regions and with different ethnic origins. This is the unit van, which travelled along the west coast of the North Island between Whanganui and Waitara, and through the Waikato region, Thames valley, Coromandel and Otago.
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