Clinton in Christchurch 1999, The 10th anniversary of President Bill Clinton’s visit to Christchurch, NZ

bowie in NZ

Commissioned by: Canterbury On Air (2000). Revised for Radio New Zealand (2009)

radio New Zealand

On the 15th of September 1999, President William Jefferson Clinton became the first US President to visit the American Antarctic “Deep Freeze” Air Base in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Since Chch. is my home-town – and seeing I’d gone to the trouble of waiting hours for the chance to see Clinton in person – I wanted to make some sort of feature to commemorate the event.

Clinton was only the second President to travel to New Zealand while in office, and his visit had a profound effect on the locals who had never before witnessed the enormous scale of the American political machine and its surrounding entourage of media and security.

clinton in christchurch

This feature initially began back in 2000 when I was working for “Canterbury On Air” – a short lived radio station in Christchurch, New Zealand. I produced a documentary to mark the first anniversary of Clinton’s first visit to NZ in ’99. This meant the recollections were still relatively fresh. I then gathered some new interviews in early 2009 for a package to help celebrate the 10th anniversary – including an interview with Ex-Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, which was recorded by Thomas Watts in Auck. NZ – and added them to the old audio with new narration.

The final package was played during the week of the tenth anniversary on the “Sounds Historical” show, which airs Sunday nights on Radio New Zealand.

This cut down audio-slideshow version of the piece is a non-profit project intended for educational purposes only. Images and music sourced from the internet are respectfully included with much thanks.


Jenny Shipley, Prof. Scott Lucas, Gary Moore (the ex-mayor – not the guitarist – sorry), Diane Keenan, Christopher Moore, Martin van Beynen, Richard Benton, Ross Devereax,

With thanks to The Christchurch Press, The International Antarctic Centre, Thomas Watts, Prof. Scott Lucas from the University of Birmingham.