Jon Gadsby

Brought up in Invercargill, Jon Gadsby studied law at Otago University and worked in the law for a short time, before a career in writing and broadcasting. Since 1975, Jon was active in radio as a writer, producer, on-air personality and character voice, and in TV as an actor, writer, creative producer and director.


He wrote or co-wrote well over 260 hours of prime-time television, and appeared as lead actor in almost 400 programmes. Some of the highlights in film and TV are: Mutiny on the Bounty with Sir Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day-Lewis and Liam Neeson, Second Time Lucky, with Robert Morley and Sir Michael Helpmann, A Week of It, McPhail and Gadsby, Issues and the award winning comedy-drama Letter to Blanchy.

Jon won five awards for Best TV Entertainment Programme, Best TV Entertainer Award, three final nominations for Best TV Actor, and a joint award for Best TV Script. In 1992 he was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to broadcasting.

Since his first book in 1985, Jon wrote or co-wrote more than 45 books for children, including the best selling Book of Beasts, the successful Kapai Kiwi series, Freedom to Be – the Ballad of Nelson Mandela, Bumblebee Pie, and the Toitoi Valley series.

Jon was a weekly columnist for The New Zealand Herald, The Citizen and NZ Business Times, and a columnist and contributing writer for Metro Magazine, North and South, Next, Sunday Star Times, NZ Fishing World, NZ Rugby World, On Holiday Magazine and numerous other publications. He was a columnist and reviewer for the New Zealand Listener and for the National Radio Network.

His first novel The Trough was published in 2000. He was the founder editor of Christchurch’s Avenues magazine.

In conjunction with David McPhail, Jon wrote a number of plays for theatre: Letter to Blanchy – Stir Crazy, Cinderella’s Naughty Night, Try this for Size and Little Blue Riding Hood. All of these plays have been produced and toured successfully nationwide.