"That's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind."

People all around the world, including here in Rotorua, will be reminiscing about the moment humans landed on the moon 50 years ago today.

Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the moon. The first steps by humans on another planetary body were taken by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969 (Eastern Standard Time).

The astronauts returned to Earth with the first samples from another planetary body.

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Ken Blackman, Rotorua Astronomical Society committee member, said it was such an achievement at the time.

He said in today's technological age, we carrying around more computing power in a cellphones than what they had on the mission so the risk was huge.

Blackman was working in a radio repair workshop on this day 50 years ago and had his ear glued to the radio all day.

He said seeing the pictures was absolutely incredible, leaving himself and his family gobsmacked.

Blackman said he remembered going out, looking up at the moon and thinking "there are actually people walking around on the surface of that body".

For Rotorua woman Sue Stephens, the moon landing was a particularly special occasion as she went into labour with her first son while watching it on television.

"I remember it not because I was in labour but because it was a momentous thing ... It doesn't seem like that long ago.

"It was a big thing. People talked about it and it was momentous."

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Locals can view two commemorative displays about the moon landing at Rotorua Library until the end of July.

They include memories from people such as the mayor, a councillor, library staff and author Fiona Kidman who grew up in Rotorua, news pages from the Daily Post, and advertisements that tied into the space theme from 1969.

There is also an old Weekly News commemorating the moon landing.

The 50th anniversary of the moon landing was a huge global event, so the Heritage and Research Team felt it was important to acknowledge the event itself as well as how it was reported in New Zealand at the time.

Heritage and research specialist Trish Brown remembers "listening to the radio broadcast at school and trying to grasp the notion that men were on the moon".

Ray Byford remembers the first manned mission to land on the Moon. Photo / Stephen Parker
Ray Byford remembers the first manned mission to land on the Moon. Photo / Stephen Parker

Regency Park Estate Lifestyle Retirement Village resident Ray Byford was 30 at the time and living in Wellington.

"I remember Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins and the landing itself. It captured the attention of the world at the time."

He said that, going from memory, he listened to it on the radio but did not see the photos until he watched the evening news, "and it was quite amazing".

Byford said apart from the end of World War II it was probably the biggest moment of his life at that time.

Joan Jeune remembers seeing the men bounce around in their suits. Photo / Stephen Parker
Joan Jeune remembers seeing the men bounce around in their suits. Photo / Stephen Parker

Regency Park Estate resident Joan Jeune said she was living in the Hutt Valley at the time and remembered watching the moon landing on the television.

"We had a family of five and the older children were fascinated. To see these men in their suits bouncing around was something quite extraordinary.

"At the time it was a real talking point around the dinner table."