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Friday, May 06, 2022

We say farewell to Rural tv broadcaster John Gordon

Photo: Stuff

Broadcaster John Gordon, famous in many households for his work on television programmes like 'Country Calendar' and 'A Dog’s Show', died at his home in Otautau last week, at the age of 78.

He worked on 95 editions of Country Calendar from 1976 to 1984 as as writer-director and occasionally in front of the camera.  But he became famous on small screens when he presented and commentated the sheep dog trials show 'A Dog's Show' for 17 years - 1977-94.

After leaving the show he became a freelance journalist contracting to television and radio, alongside other commercial companies.  During 1982-83 he directed five documentaries for TV, under the name of  'The Southlanders', featuring the province’s people, places, and events - 'Peg's Place (Taylor's Hotel, Ohai)', 'The Wyndham Anglers (Wyndham, Mataura and Mimihau Rivers)', 'The Forgotten Coast (Progress Valley-Waipapa Point and people who live there)', 'Married to the Place (views of Southland through an artist's eyes)' and 'The Settlers (new settlement in the Te Anau basin)'.

He also wrote a number of books including 'People Places And Paddocks', 'Mountains of the South', 'Three Sheep and a Dog, Out of Town', 'What's Its Name (dog names)', 'Fresh Fields' and 'Going There (about Gordon's time in Vietnam)'.

Gordon was a keen member of the Thornbury Vintage Tractor Club and their project – 'Southern Lands, the history of farming in Southland', which he supported up to his death.

Gordon also led two refugee welfare teams for the New Zealand Red Cross in South Vietnam, utilising his skills as an agriculturalist to people grow vegetables.

He worked for Volunteer Service Abroad through the early 1990s, as a farm manager and teacher in agriculture at a secondary school in Bougainville Island, Papua New Guineas.  Later he took a commission for VSA in Cambodia and developed a radio programme for Cambodian farmers.

John Gordon was a passionate Southlander, broadcaster and humanitarian and we will all miss him here at Groove.  Our lives were enriched by his Television, especially the way he brought rural New Zealand into our homes every Sunday night.  It expanded our young minds and made us all the better for it.  

Photo: Stuff

  See more clips from John Gordon at NZ on Screen

  See more episodes of 'A Dog's Show'  

  Other classic Kiwi TV moments

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