During the Covid alert level 4 lockdowns, the bulk of the country has spent their time at home.
Luckily the weather has been pleasant enough for backyard cricket and gardening, but statistics have shown a massive increase in the amount of television watched.
It has been estimated that screen time, covering both live television and streaming services, increased 31 per cent while we stayed home. But not so long ago we wouldn't have been able to watch anything.
With the development of radio transmission and Morse Code, global attention turned to the possibility of transmitting images.
Scottish inventor Alexander Bain invented a facsimile machine for transmitting still images using telegraph lines in the 1840s, and Italian priest Giovanni Caselli leveraged off this idea to develop a practical facsimile system in 1856.
English electrical engineer Willoughby Smith discovered the photoconductivity of selenium in 1873 and paved the way towards sending images through telephone lines, and in 1884 German student Paul Nipkow patented a device which could scan an image and turn it into an electrical signal.
But it was Frenchmen G. Rignoux and A. Fournier who combined the technologies in 1909 and demonstrated the first instant transmission of an image.
The images of individual letters of the alphabet were scanned and transmitted onto an 8x8 pixel screen, with the image being refreshed several times a second.
We've had our fair share of inventors working on the technology, too. Robert Jack, Professor of Physics at Otago University, began experimenting with television technologies in the 1920s, and by 1924 was transmitting pictures in his laboratory.
In 1951 Canterbury University College senior lecturer Bernard Withers and his students built a closed circuit television system in their classroom. The following year they established their own television station, ZL3XT, and broadcast the country's first experimental transmissions. It had a limited radius and the images were barely legible.
By now television had become a government issue. In July 1949 the Labour Government set up a committee including members of the New Zealand Broadcasting Service and the Post & Telegraph Department, to look into introducing television to the country. The committee became inactive when National won the election that November.
Work on experimental broadcasts continued until Labour's return to power in 1958 when the committee was reinstated.
New Zealand was 'behind the times' as television had been available in other countries including the UK since 1936, the US since 1939, and Australia since 1956. The committee released a plan for nationwide television, facing the challenges of significant expense to a small country and difficult terrain to achieve sufficient coverage.
New Zealand's first official television broadcast was transmitted on July 1, 1960. Three years later there were 80,000 television licences issued in the country with an audience of around 300,000 viewers – one-eighth of the population at the time.
Six years on it is estimated that 1.5 million New Zealanders watched the broadcast of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon on their home television sets; over half the population of 2.7 million.
Since then, the industry has grown and an estimated 95 per cent of homes today own at least one television and are able to watch a myriad of streaming services.
In the Whanganui Regional Museum's collection is a combination radio, record player and television unit produced by the radio brand Dreco which was introduced in New Zealand around 1962. The unit in the museum's collection was purchased from the Farmers Trading Company in 1964.
Sandi Black is the Archivist at Whanganui Regional Museum.