1945: First call to New York via Tinakori and Makara

The Press (Christchurch), 27 October 1945, p 6


(P.A.) WELLINGTON, October 26. The first telephone calls between New Zealand and the United States were made to-day, the first message being from Mr H.M. Patrick, of the Chief Post Office, to Mr W.G. Thompson, vice-president of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company of New York. The Prime Minister (the Rt. Hon. P. Fraser) spoke with the New Zealand Minister in Washington (Mr C.A. Berendsen), inaugurating the service, and the American Charge d’Affaires ad interim at Wellington, Mr Prescott Childs, spoke with the chief of the Office of Foreign Service in the State Department at Washington, Mr Seldon Chapin. Mr Childs said: “We have come a long way from the old party line. I merely wish to say that I think it is a fine thing for the people of New Zealand and the United States to be able to talk with each other in friendly conversation.”

The New Zealand transmitting apparatus is at the Wellington radio station on the Tinakori hills, while the receiving apparatus is at the new post office station at Makara.

In America, the transmitting and receiving stations are both about 30 miles from San Francisco. From the San Francisco terminal, calls are extended over landlines in the United States. Calls made today were all most successful, and a further 74 conversations are booked. If the demand keeps up the hours of service, which are now between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., will be extended.