30 Mar 2018

Pat McMinn: NZ's Voice of the 1950's

From Spectrum, 8:30 am on 30 March 2018

Pat McMinn was known as New Zealand's voice of the 1950's but she was still a household name  in 1994, when she sat down with Jim Sullivan to talk about te singing highlights from a career that seemed almost inevitable since childhood.  

Pat grew up in a musical family in Taumarunui and was singing and dancing in public at an early age. She had won numerous dance competitions before, at 9, she toured NZ as a dancer in J. C. Williamson’s White Horse Inn company and she was ten when she first sang on Radio.

In 1942 at the age of 15 Pat won a singing contest with a prize of weekly paid singing engagements at Auckland’s Dixieland Cabaret and her popularity began to grow. But public recognition took off after the release in 1950 of her first recording (Choon' Gum). With her sunny voice, she dominated the radio waves for many years as the top New Zealand novelty singer - recording more than 25 sides for the TANZA record Label, including her top hit ’Opo, The Crazy Dolphin’ - the 1956 single that sold more than ten-thousand copies in its first week. For four decades, Aucklanders also knew her as the voice of the perennial advertising jingle for the Geddes Dental Renovation clinic.  

Pat McMinn received her OBE in 1977 for services to entertainment which included performing for New Zealand troops in Korea in 1953 and 54, and she moved from Auckland to Tauranga in 1987 to retire. But it proved to be a new beginning and she got involved in local theatre and returned to the world of dance as a teacher.  Pat McMinn was 91 when she died in Tauranga on 21 March 2018