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This segment of my original works is written by my son, John Maybury Jnr.

Maybury’s On Air

Learning Curve

Upon my return from London, it was back into the theatre but this time in a production management role. Oh, OK, as an actor too. Learning was at the forefront of my mind. I took up acting technique classes with the master of the NZ stage acting and directing, Raymond Hawthorne. Thrown into a class of seasoned veterans like Lucy Lawless among others, I felt very much the junior (no pun intended) with a lot to prove. I could see how the acting fraternity could be so ‘cliquey’, so hanging around this group of people couldn’t do any harm. The acting classes continued for a further 5 years that brought some success. My only regret was when Raymond cast me in My Fair Lady (I was the only non-singing, non-dancing chorus actor in the cast) that the show didn’t go ahead due to ticket sales. It was such a superb collection of actors from New Zealand and abroad. A national tour and I was in it. I would have learnt so much. As an actor, you get used to the near misses. Its part of life I guess.

Throughout this time I continued with the Milford Playhouse in a number of roles but ventured out with other theatre groups; Pumphouse Winter Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors, Antipholus of Ephesus Director: Stephanie McKellar-Smith.

Dolphin Theatre, Twelve Angry Men, Juror 6 (Best Supporting Actor Award, 1993) Director: Peter Morgan. Theatre Workshop, Maidment Theatre, Pawn to Queen Two, Alex Director: Randall McCallister.

In 1992, I also had the pleasure to work on a film ‘The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior’ starring Jon Voight and Sam Neill. As a young kid this was fun and I was being paid for it! I wasn’t in the cast (except for a couple of crowd scenes) but I had a more en-‘lightening’ role, I was Jon Voight’s stand-in (double if you like) and the person responsible of driving his ‘trailer’. It was great to sit around the set and talk with him about his glittering film career and to catch a few helpful hints on the Hollywood industry. My big moment came when he asked me to ‘run some lines with him’. There we were sitting in his trailer, just he and I. I read Sam Neill’s lines (woohoo) and he reading his. I think he read it a dozen different ways. At the end of the film he gave me his trusty jacket worn throughout the film and a book with signatures blazoned through it (along with the rest of the cast). A gracious and endearing man. 

TV roles came and went. You know when you’re an actor when you get on Shortland St! Even though every man and his dog had been on Shortland St. My character was a dog (of a role). At least Johnny Givins, the director of the episode, made it fun for all.

Along with acting in the early ‘90s, I started my own business, John Maybury Entertainment that specialised in Compering, retail spruiking and corporate work.  In addition to this, voicing TV/radio commercials became another income stream that continued for another eight years.

Also at this time, I also found myself behind a microphone at the Easter Show under the direction of some old bugger with MY name! I had done a couple of years ‘helping out’ a few years earlier so I was eager to impress. All I remember hearing was, “You don’t have to yell into the microphone, you have such a brilliant melodic sound of pitch, pace and colour in your voice, better than I ever can produce”. Coming from someone who was not only the boss but from a master behind the microphone himself, I remembered that. A great compliment, thanks Dad.

The association with the Easter show continued for a further 12 years. Two Maybury’s’ in tandem. One senior, one learning the ropes. It wouldn’t be the last time.

 

Easy Listener

A few months after returning from the UK, I also was knocking down doors of the radio stations to see if there was an opening. Any opening. Easy Listening i98FM or Radio i as it was better known, gave me that chance. Thanks Mike Regal. At the time he sat in the corner office of the Old Great South Rd studios looking after the programming department. On air at the time were Kerry Smith, Bob Leahy (newsreader) Alice Worsely, Peter Burgham and the incomparable Peter Sinclair.

Then a few other radio stations joined in the fun. Radio was changing, as it was a deregulated market, saving money was all part of the overall plan. (No surprises here). Into the building came 91FM and Radio Hauraki (Both stations were, along with Radio i, part of the then Independent Broadcasting Corp). Talk about a lot of egos in one building. Hauraki’s on-air line up included Mark Perry, Dean Lonegan and the fabulous Leah Panapa, Gavin Comber and Dave White. 91FM had Dave Jamieson at the breakfast helm. There were a number of brilliant voices and talent. It was great for me to be part of the team.

Initially I worked mainly weekends on i98FM doing Sunday morning breakfast and floating on other stations in various day parts but for two years it was ‘choice’ to be around these professionals and stars (not to mention the ego’s).

 
Liberally speaking

An opportunity arose in 1994 to work for a radio station to rival the two major ‘talkback networks’ (Radio New Zealand’s ZB Network and Radio Pacific) through a broadcasting mate from Blenheim. The money (!) was coming from Christchurch entrepreneur and businessman, David Henderson with the programming and station direction from TV news anchor and interviewing guru, Lindsay Perigo. Along with his mate Deborah Coddington, they were self-proclaimed Libertarians and the station took its stance following the beliefs and writings of Ayne Rand.

Radio Liberty was the new kid on the block. Aside from its libertarian positioning (which was focussed in the weekday breakfast and morning shows), the rest of the day was all business/finance news (hosted by David Popplewell and Rueben Aitcheson) along with night-time talkback. Throw Australian shock-jock Arch Tambakis into the mix and you had a recipe for interesting talkback. Luckily he was working nights while I read breakfast news for Perigo and Coddington. This was a true opportunity to ply my skills, doing the lot. Reading, writing, editing and collecting the news. It sure kept me busy. Although the 3.30am starts killed the social life! On the weekend’s, it didn’t stop. I had a two-hour show to produce and look forward to…


The Two Johns

“I’m John. I’m John, I’m Maybury the father and I’m Maybury the son. Together we’re the Maybury’s”. The first father and son commercial radio show in New Zealand was born. (John Snr and his Dad Jack, had done a father/son show across the Tasman in 1951 but this was NZ commercial radio) The show’s opening line was a little corny (hell, the whole show was a little corny) but we had fun. The show was in fact “Sporting Life with the Maybury’s” for a whole two hours on a Saturday night from 6-8pm. No show was complete without the compulsory quizzes, interviews with current sporting people, commentators and previews of upcoming events. We certainly were not Murray Deaker or Peter Montgomery so we didn’t try to be like them. The Maybury’s had their ‘own’ brand of entertainment. The only way they knew how. Thinking back, it was an honour to work alongside my Dad. Although he was often not there, saying “I’m off to the toilet son, back in a couple of shakes”.

 The weekend was packed full of names. Max Cryer (Arts), Eion Scarrow (gardening), Grahame Thorne (sports) and The Maybury’s. Good company. Pity it all came to an end. The station didn’t sell enough advertising to keep the ship afloat but we had made our point.

 
Love Is In The Air

Upon Radio Liberty’s demise I went back to announcing and floating on i98FM, Hauraki and 91ZM and doing promotions again.  Meanwhile, during my time away, Peter Sinclair had been poached by Classic Hits 97FM and the new weekday host of ‘Lovesong’s til Midnight’ was the adorable Gael Ludlow. Management had decided to take the show to 7-days and that left an opening for me. For three years, I stuck to the show hoping for an opening in other areas of the station. By this stage there were seven brands in the one building; Kool 93 (50s/60s), i98FM and Easy Listening i (on the AM network, purpose built for the audience of Alice Worsley. The frequency now plays host to radio sport), rock station Hauraki, Today FM, 91ZM and a news/sport station 1476AM with Tim Bickerstaff. I worked on all of them. I remember one day, working four shifts on four stations. A busy time but eager to stay in the mix as new announcers were always arriving willing to take on work. Some came and some went. Here are a few of the names I remember that hung around:

1. Adam ‘Boom Boom’ Butler (Kool 93 Breakfast Host)

2. Tim Laurence-  now editor of business magazine, Espy

3. Steve Pulley-  now in China working in radio

4. Eddie Hribar - Hauraki for a time but was on-air at 91ZM

5. Andrew White - brother of Dave White, now in Melbourne/Geelong

6. Robert Scott - all round sweet-talker who pulled breakfast on ZM

7. Peter Burgham - went on Sydney at 2CH programming and on-air

8. Leah Panapa - now on ‘The Rock’ Auckland doing breakfast - talent to burn!

9. Don Linden - who did the children’s stories show on Sunday morning’s

10. Geoff Rooke - Kerry Smith’s on-air partner, now at Solid Gold

11. Jacqui Tucker - with Andrew Dickens on 97FM and married to Mike Regal

12. Mark Kennedy - formerly of the Top Marks, a voice agent, now, who knows?

13. Murray Inglis -former 91FM breakfast host

14. Andrew Dickens - Classic Hits breaky host

15. Guy Needham - operations manager from ‘95-’97. A cool head for radio

16. Rueben Aitchison - ex Blenheim radio, worked with him at Radio Liberty

17. Alison Audrey - floater announcer at Radio Network and a bundle of fun!

18. Warwick Rees - drive on i98FM for a number of years – one of the few ‘nice guys’ of radio)

19. Gael Ludlow – Current host of Lovesongs – still! (10 years on & she’s still doing what she loves!)

20. Bob Leahy – breakfast news with verve!

21. Alice Worseley – She had (and probably still does) a following like no other. A gem to sit alongside her in the studio next door just watching!

22. Mike Oliver – Another talented broadcaster with a face for radio like me!

23. Murray Lindsay – One of those first father figures that you turn & ask ‘cos he knows!

24. Stephen McIvor – I only worked briefly with him at ZHFM but he had big plans. I salute success!

25. David Brice – Having already mentioned his PD prowess earlier; he too had an eye on the top job where he now presides.

 
The Maybury’s did reunite for one last time, filling in for two weeks for the then host, Jackie Tate (wife of Dylan Tate) on Today FM. It had all the same humour but in a smaller, cramped studio! We even got our picture in the NZ Herald! I’m sure they put the picture/story in the paper because people actually listened to this station.

The news reading experience on Radio Liberty must have helped because I was able to grab some time at IRN (Independent Radio News). More experience for a year or two. If I were to work on-air in radio again, news reading (or sports) would be my chosen field, creatively. For a day job, give me a station (or group) to manage. God knows I’ve got the experience - I’ve worked in every department!

In 1996 and still acting, one day, very relaxed, I toddled off to yet another audition over in Auckland’s, Eden Terrace. You get used to doing these auditions. Most you don’t get but occasionally, just occasionally they ask you to come back for a second look. At this audition, they asked me to strut around like a robot. I strutted very well!


Anyone for a home loan?

For four years, I was cast as the ASB Bank’s Robert, the Robot. An actor’s ‘commercial’ dream as it was regular work and nobody knew who I was! Nationally, I did over 50 TVC’s, Radio, Internet, Press, Cinema, ATM machines, POS and moneyboxes. I always wanted to be a moneybox! Send donations…

The ASB Bank management wanted to keep my identity hidden so even when all the press and radio jocks are talking about ‘Who is the ASB Bank Robot’ AND I’m on the radio with them, I had to keep my super-hero status a secret.

Shooting our first series of commercials presented a number of challenges. Starting work at 4am with a prosthetic make-up call for three hours was hell. The face came in five parts covering lips, head and neck (all glued down on my face) plus the hand gloves, there was the body armour suit that didn’t have extensive ‘breathing’ holes. Once make-up and costume was fitted, I had to wait for the set to be complete and lit precisely. I didn’t mind waiting as they gave me two personal assistants and a humongous fan to stand in front of! The only problem was, I couldn’t eat anything but sweets! Shooting then continued for another 13 hours. Make-up off by 10pm, home, dinner (although hyper with lots of sweets), then bed only to do it all over again. Six days of shooting.

On the 7th day (this has a holy ring about it), Robert rested. Although they tried to shoot a half day but after applying make-up and getting ready, the tears starting falling from exhaustion, ruining the make-up and they sent me home. Was it exhaustion or was it the fact that the All Blacks had lost a test the night before!

At age 28, when you are supposed to take advantage of these little opportunities and move ahead at a great rate of knots, I thought, I’m going to enjoy this. I hadn’t taken a holiday for more than seven years. So a positive to come out of this role (other than my bank balance) was my golf handicap. I must have been the only 28 year-old actor, who, for a good year, ditched the weekly jobs, played golf from Monday to Friday and worked on radio on the weekends. Life was good.

 

From sheep rooter to sheep stealer

Born of a mother who is Australian (and a New Zealand father), I was always destined to find my roots. I’d visited Australia on many occasions, with my parents on holidays to Melbourne and when I worked for Jetset Travel. When I travelled to Sydney to shoot another TV commercial, this time for Harvey World Travel, I found myself sitting on Bondi Beach in mid-September, sunning myself in 28-degree temperatures. Thinking of going for a swim, I thought, no, I couldn’t possibly, it’s September! A seed was sown and within 3 months I’d packed my bag (Speedo’s and sunnies) and moved to Sydney. Giving up my post on Lovesong’s was tough but radio in NZ was changing. There was a rumour around that the stations I worked for were to be sold to another radio group. This meant redundancies and a lot of experienced broadcasters looking for work. Time for a sea change. It was right for me so I moved on.

 

I still call Australia home

One of the reasons I moved to Australia was the opportunity that experiential marketing offered. I knew that performance-based work was always going to be limited so I had to carve out a new career. It was 1998 and along came an audition as a presenter role in a travelling shopping centre show. For 6 months the ‘family circle and Better Homes and Gardens Show’ travelled around Australia visiting key shopping malls representing an array of clients. As the MC and presenter, this lead to a number of short and long term gigs over the next seven years.

After this show, I moved from ‘a man behind the mike’ to a Monday to Friday, 9-5 lackey and after time to, a Performance Director with an experiential marketing and media company in Sydney. I’ll never be the traditional ‘suit’ in agency land but there are now a number of strings to my bow of a promotions and creative director, corporate trainer and compere/presenter. I still find the time to rip through quiz shows on a weekly basis, throwing in some of the well-travelled gags learnt from my mentor. You can’t keep a good man down.

Two people stand out as wonderful (and patient) contributors to my growth in Australia, Samantha Hollier; whom I toured with on the family circle show 1998. Sam and I even got married on a shopping mall centre stage at Liverpool. Luckily the union was annulled by tours’ end as her cooking skills were atrocious! Needless to say, since then, she’s been a wonderful source of energy, a colleague and a confidant and will remain that way for many years to come.  Latterly my inspiration has come from another North Shore boy (Sydney) who proves that LIFE IS FUN, regardless of the time of day, home or work, boardroom or bedroom. A dedicated father and husband, who also has found the time to pass on considerable business management skills that would be precious to any aspiring student of life. That learning pathway is endless. John Evans, thanks.

Appreciation too, for the patience and understanding from my friends and family who gave me that spark to get behind a mike. Especially, my Dad, John Maybury Snr.

I remember my time in radio with great fondness. The people I worked with, the fun that was had. I always thought I had something to prove by following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather but was really matters; you do what you’re good at, what you enjoy, what challenges and inspires you. Ultimately it’s where you can make a difference. That’s what drives me.

I only wish I could have met Jack Maybury, what a three-some we would have made on-air!

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John Maybury 2006
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