Gordon McLauchlan was a well-known media personality who, in addition to his writing, fronted television programmes, worked in radio and has edited the New Zealand Herald’s books pages. McLauchlan is best known as a cultural critic and a social historian. He wrote a number of bestsellers, including The Passionless People, which launched two one-hour television programmes. McLauchlan spent 10 years as the editor-in-chief of The New Zealand Encyclopedia, and he published A Short History of New Zealand (Penguin) in 2004 (reissued in 2009).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
McLauchlan, Gordon (1931–2020) was born in Dunedin, and lived in New Plymouth, Pahiatua, Taihape, Napier, Auckland and Wellington before settling in Auckland. McLauchlan was educated at Wellington College and spent a year at Victoria University of Wellington before joining the Manawatu Evening Standard as a reporter.
McLauchlan worked as a journalist, feature writer, sports writer and sub-editor before becoming a freelance journalist/writer in 1973. He became a full-time writer in 2000. McLauchlan was a well-known media personality who, in addition to his writing, fronted television programmes, winning Presenter of the Year at the 1987 national Television Awards. He worked in radio and edited the New Zealand Herald’s books pages.
McLauchlan is best known as a cultural critic and a social historian. He wrote a number of best-sellers, including The Passionless People (Cassell, 1976), which launched two one-hour television programmes.
A prolific writer, McLauchlan’s long list of books includes: Auckland (Reed, 1978); The Acid Test (Methuen, 1981); McMeekan, A Biography (Hodder and Stoughton, 1982), The Line that Dares - A History of the Union Steam Ship Company (Four Star Books, 1987); A History of New Zealand Humour (Penguin, 1988); The ASB and Its Community (Four Star Books, 1991); The Big Con (GP Publications, 1992); The Story of New Zealand Beer (Penguin, 1995); The Northland Co-operative Dairy Company – A History (Four Star Books, 1996); New Zealand Credit Unions, the First Forty Years (Four Star Books, 2002); A Short History of New Zealand (Penguin, 2004, reissued, 2009); A Life’s Sentences – A Memoir (Penguin, 2004); Great Tales From New Zealand History (Penguin 2005, reprinted in 2008); A Short Short History of New Zealand (Penguin 2005, reprinted 2007); The Farming of New Zealand (Penguin, 2006); The Life and Times of Auckland (Penguin, 2008). He also wrote a play, The Last Days of Frank Sargeson, which was work-shopped and twice performed by Auckland Theatre Company.
McLauchlan spent ten years as the editor-in-chief of The New Zealand Encyclopaedia (Bateman, 1984, revised 1987, 1991, 1995).
McLauchlan edited and contributed short stories to the well-known anthologies, Morrieson’s Motel (Tandem Press, 2000), and The Littledene Club Final (Tandem Press, 2002).
McLauchlan was a long-standing member of the Frank Sargeson Trust. He was also founding chair of the Michael King Writers' Studio Trust, and was a literary associate of the Trust.
From 2011, he was a regular contributor to RNZ Afternoon's The Panel discussion programme.
In 2016, he wrote Great Tales from Rural New Zealand (Bateman Books) and in January 2020, his last book, A Short History of Farming in New Zealand, was published by Bateman Books.
McLauchlan died in January 2020, aged 89 years old.
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
- Gordon McLauchlan interview on the Cultural Icons site
- Gordon McLauchlan on NZ On Screen
- 2012 Listener interview
- 2012 feature interview on Nine to Noon
- 2017 interview with Richard Langston on RNZ Saturday Morning
Updated January 2017.