Barry Crump (1935 – 1996)
Barry was many things to many kiwis. He was a bushman, deer culler, radio and television raconteur, and above all else a brilliant writer. You always knew when you read his books, that here was a man with an accute sense of what makes the ordinary hard working kiwi tick.
His books are still in constant demand and a source of delight to those of us fortunate to have read them. In his later years he became more widely known for his humerous role as the eponymous back country cow-cocky (that’s Kiwi for farmer) in the brilliant Toyota Hilux adverts, along with his long suffering sidekick Scotty. The whole country used to wait with baited breath for the latest one to appear on its televisions.
John Clark aka Fred Dagg (1948 – 2017)
John created the gumbooted total idiot Fred Dagg for the farming program Country Calendar on New Zealand television. The character proved to be so popular that the NZBC commissioned his own series. Just to set the record straight, while it is true that in his latter years John lived in Australia, he was born in Palmerston North in the Manawatu. Sadly he died aged sixty-eight while on a walk a couple of days ago…
Billy T James (1948 – 1991)
Billy, or to give him his correct name – William James Te Wehi Taitoko, was by far the funniest of the three. He had a knack for comedy, always poking fun at stereotypes, both Maori and Pakeha, on his television programs.
Over the years New Zealand has spawned many talented individuals, like Sir Ernest Rutherford, Air Chief Marshall Sir Keith Rodney Park, Sir Edmund Hillary, and many others too numerous to mention. But when it comes to my second home country’s particular kind of humour, the above trio (all heroes of mine), outshone everyone else as far as I’m concerned. 😉