19 Apr 2021

Iain Gallaway: Much loved commentator was 'professional' in everything he did

10:47 am on 19 April 2021

One of New Zealand's most respected sports commentators is being remembered as a man who combined his enthusiasm for cricket and rugby with a commitment to getting things right.

Iain Gallaway in 2016

Iain Gallaway in 2016 Photo: PhotoSport / Andrew Cornaga

Cricket and rugby commentator Iain Gallaway, known as the Voice of Carisbrook, has died aged 98.

Gallaway provided rugby commentaries for 26 years and cricket for 40, until signing off in 1992.

Gallaway decided to hang up his microphone in 1992 after the Cricket World Cup, fearing his failing eyesight would lead him to make wrong calls. His last-ever commentary at Carisbrook was the match between New Zealand and India as part of the World Cup competition.

Former Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum said he was a great New Zealander.

Otago sports commentator and former chief executive of Sport Otago, Paul Allison, worked with Gallaway and was also a friend. He told Morning Report that there were many qualities that made him a top commentator.

"He was very knowledgeable, he was highly researched and very professional and widely loved really. He was synonymous with Carisbrook. He loved Carisbrook and Carisbrook loved him.

"He was the sort of person who would be able to articulate so well what was happening in the action, on the sports field - you could tell by his passion and his enthusiasm and he was really very, very well prepared.

"He would always do a lot of work behind the scenes; he'd get to know the players - be able to identify them well."

Iain Gallaway at the mike early in his long career.

Iain Gallaway. Photo: teara.govt.nz

Gallaway combined many years in the commentary box with his career as a solicitor in Dunedin.

He represented Otago at cricket and was also an international rugby referee, taking charge of the British Lions match against the West Coast in 1950 and Australia versus Southland in 1949.

In 1947 while playing for Otago against the MCC he went in to bat at No 10. When he got halfway out to the crease he could not believe his eyes as the crowd stood up to applaud him.

"But then he looked up and he saw Bert Sutcliffe coming off after scoring 197 and he still says that was one of his fond memories. Here he was, going out to bat and he thought the crowd was standing for him and really it was for Bert Sutcliffe who had scored such a magnificent knock, that 197," Allison said.

Gallaway was always respectful to other people and generous with his time.

He helped set up the Otago sports awards and was a life trustee of the Halberg Trust.

"He was just a great New Zealander and he will be sadly missed. He was highly respected wherever he went."

His friend also believed in getting the little things right, Allison said, using as an example the spelling of his name - if his name on a letter was incorrect, Gallaway might return it.

"So he was a stickler for detail, but a lovely man."

Among his other roles, Gallaway served as president of New Zealand Cricket for three years, was chairman of the Broadcasting Standards Authority and a member of the Broadcasting Corporation.

His services to sport and the community were recognised by an MBE in 1978 and a QSO in 1986 marked his services to the Anglican church - he was chancellor of the Dunedin Diocese for 25 years.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.