How a Kiwi helped the world watch the moon landing

It was cameras on-board Apollo 11 that meant the moon landing was witnessed back on Earth, and it was Sir William Pickering from Havelock who helped NASA with the expertise to do that. 

Before his death, he unveiled a plaque about himself in the Marlborough town - it explains his work to put cameras on rockets to find a landing spot on the moon. 

"That gave NASA the capability of having real-time coverage of men landing on the moon so it was quite an instrumental piece of it," said Sir William's daughter Beth Mezitt.

Glen Willoughby works with the same jet propulsion lab as Sir William and is part of a space-themed celebration in Christchurch on Friday. 

"William Pickering's shadow at NASA is enormous, he was one of the founders of their space program," said Willoughby.

Fifty years ago, Kiwis marked it in different ways right across the country. The queues for newspapers described as being like "football scrums" and 20,000 copies of the Auckland Star sold out in less than an hour. 

This weekend's anniversary will bring back many memories. 

Newshub travelled to a local retirement village to talk to the people who remember that iconic day, and play them the audio from the landing.

"I find it quite emotional, just such an incredible event," said resident Sheryl Wales.

Wales listened with her students at Pomaria Primary School.

"Everybody just burst into spontaneous clapping," she recalled.

Cess Gunn was pregnant with her son. listening with a group at the library. 

"When they actually landed, there was this big roar," she said.

Robin Hood had a brand new Ford Falcon 500 with a radio, on which he heard history being made.

"I went all shivery, I just sat there, I was stunned," he told Newshub.

A feat which is still stunning the world half a century on.