Kiwi films brought out of archive to celebrate first ever movie screening

New Zealanders first went to catch a movie at the Opera House in Auckland 120 years ago - and that anniversary is being celebrated with a selection of Kiwi films.

As technology developed, going to the movies quickly became a popular part of Kiwi life and by the 1940s, there were 38 million admissions in a year.

The Victoria Cinema in Devonport, built in 1912, is the oldest movie house in the Southern Hemisphere - and it is still in existence.

Theatre manager Philipp Jaser says theatres have become much more comfortable as time has gone by.

"The early days - they fit in 1000 people in this place, the seats really narrow ... it was all about numbers then they changed that as time progressed," he said.

The vaults at Nga Taonga in Wellington preserve more than 750,000 recordings, including many of New Zealand's most well-known films.

New Zealanders attended the very first public screening of a motion picture 120 years ago at Auckland's opera house. Source: 1 NEWS