The earliest known soundtrack to be transfered to videotape is the 1940 production of REWI'S LAST STAND. The original score was composed by Alfred Hill; a composer who is justifiably claimed by both Australia and New Zealand. A copy can be viewed/heard at the New Zealand Film Archive. The Hill family emigrated to New Zealand in 1872, when Alfred was but age two. Finally settling in Wellington, his family was quite active in arts, and especially music. Alfred studied in Leipzig and returned to conduct the Wellington Orchestral Society from 1892-1896. Most of the 20th century, Hill resided in Australia, but made many trips to New Zealand to conduct. Early Hill compositions, including the maori themed cantata HINEMOA, the two 'Maori' string quartets, and the tone poems on Maori themes, are examples of early New Zealand music. A HINEMOA film was made in 1914, but no known copies exist today. Perhaps someone will someday make a sound version utilizing Hill's cantata. There are no known soundtrack CDs of 'Rewi's Last Stand', but a sample mp3 download is available at the soundtrack samples page of this site.
The first known NZ feature film to also have its own soundtrack release was the 1977 33rpm LP of Sleeping Dogs. Other titles that are on 33rpm LP and/or audio cassette, but have not (as of December 2010) found their way to CD are: Solo (1978), Goodbye Pork Pie (1980), Battletruck (1981), Smash Palace (1981), Strata (1984), Bridge to Nowhere (1986), Queen City Rocker (1986) and The Leading Edge (1987).
New Zealand sound scores have suffered the same problem that most aspects of New Zealand film production has experienced - insufficent funds. The recognized first "breakthrough" film, SLEEPING DOGS,had a budget of $450,000nz! The first film to have a million dollar budget was SMASH PALACE in 1981. The same year, the NZ/US joint production of RACE FOR THE YANKEE ZEPHYR, with its $6 million budget, was released with its international lead actors and its grand Brian May score. By most accounts, SMASH PALACE is the better product, although not because of its spare score. In my opinion, one of the best of the early New Zealand film scores is the one that Dorothy Buchanan wrote for the 1980 featurette, LINCOLN COUNTY INCIDENT, unfortunately a title very difficult to location and only on vhs. Probably the first all-New Zealand production that resulted in a high quality soundtrack CD is John Charles' UTU. In spite of difficulties, there are some soundtrack gems from New Zealand, and my list includes (In alphabetical order):
NOTE: Links to soundtracks that can be downloaded at iTunes are flagged by + Links to soundtracks that can be heard at Streaming Soundtracks are flagged by Alex
However there are some original New Zealand soundtrack scores that are less known because they have never made it to cd and, in some cases, are difficult to experience. That does not mean that they are unworthy of attention; so I offer a list, in alphabetical order, of some favourites of mine that are not on cd although are on dvd. Links to audio clips are found at film title pages.