Alfred Henry Whitehouse; a bootmaker who became a pioneer of New Zealand films
Hart, P. (2016). Alfred Henry Whitehouse; a bootmaker who became a pioneer of New Zealand films. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 160). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10499
In December 1880, Alfred Henry Whitehouse set himself up in business in Te Aroha as its ‘Pioneer Bootmaker’. He had a very small involvement in local mining. As well as making boots and shoes, he tried to earn more money by erecting houses and being an agent, a clerk, and, very briefly, the town clerk. Actively involved in local politics, he was especially critical of the local newspaper and the domain board, sometimes being abrasive and tactless, as he could be in private life as well. More positively, he was active in sporting and especially social events, with a particular interest in music. After leaving Te Aroha at the end of 1888, following the death of his first wife, Whitehouse was a commercial traveller for some years before holding public performances of the newest phonographs and of the early varieties of ‘moving pictures’. Not only did he arrange exhibitions of imported short films, he made the first New Zealand ones, using another man as the cameraman. He toured his exhibitions all around the North Island, including in his programmes a variety of musical selections and other attractions. By 1910, facing increasing competition and with his advancing age, he gave up this occupation. Financially, it had been only a modest success, but it earned him an honoured place as a pioneer of the New Zealand film industry.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart