In the 1956 novel The Last Hurrah by Edwin O'Connor the veteran, a flawed but great man with many achievements to his credit, falls to the modern usurper with a handsome face but no real ability. And so on February 16, 2016 an iconic veteran of New Zealand radio transmission, the 696 ft* 2YA mast fell to the enfeebled broadcast service we make do with today. Welcome to the new age.
The original Australian made 700 ft mast and an earth mat system with 10 miles* of wire were in place for the 25 January 1937 opening speech by the Prime Minister the Rt. Honourable Michael Joseph Savage "Radio broadcasting was one of the most revolutionary agencies of modern times. It [will] soon be as necessary to the mind of the ordinary citizen as water to his body, and would be laid on to every home in a similar way".
After more than 40 years the mast was replaced with the antenna felled this week. Nevertheless for almost 80 years Titahi Bay has been home to New Zealand’s tallest structure providing nationwide medium wave coverage, standing tall amongst a now lost collection of MF and HF broadcast antennas, a mighty totara once in the forest of Tane.
Let’s finish with this dirge, a poem by Simon Cooke-Willis ZL1THU
Through the mist with twang and crump the mighty icon came,
The thing of past thermionic time, one station, one nation,
Crashing down meeting its nemesis to be grounded forever
Rest in peace … AM
*Metric? Show some respect...