Te Radar makes comedy and presents documentaries — sometimes at the same time. He is also known by his original name of Andrew J Lumsden.
Lumsden discovered his love of comedy while studying law at Otago University. He took up drama instead — plus the nickname Radar, because there were too many Andrews in his social group.
In the mid 90s he was one of his stand-up comedians getting laughs on Pulp Comedy. Soon after he was spotted in peroxided hair (still under the name Lumsden) on sketch show Newsflash. Te Radar played a reporter; the show used the format of an over the top entertainment show to tie together its sketches. Radar later described it as “one of the most hideous experiences of my life”.
Te Radar has now been mining comedy and wry observation from his interest in travel and history for at least a decade. His visits to New Zealand peacekeepers in East Timor would eventually result in both a 2003 television documentary (presented by Radar and Ewen Gilmour), and an award-winning multi-media show.
In 2004 Te Radar created National Radio show Dispatches from the Holy Lands. The show chronicled his travels within the zone of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including an interview with former Palestinian leader Yassar Arafat. Radar’s travels in Israel also resulted in TV documentary War Tourist – Christmas in Bethlehem.
Te Radar collaborated with Mike King on Welcome to King Country, a show about New Zealand’s history. He was also a writer on King's talk show Mike King Tonight). In 2005 he was commissioned by the Christchurch Arts Festival, in conjunction with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, to write and perform Hitori, a history of the South Island.
In 2005 he co-presented the first of three seasons of Māori TV series B & B. The live comedy/interview show saw Te Radar and Hori Ahipene playing a mixed race couple who each week interviewed two guests at their bed and breakfast.
In the same period Te Radar fronted three-part documentary Hidden in the Numbers, which used statistics to examine the changing face of New Zealand culture. In 2008 he scored a double-header, with TV series Off the Radar and Homegrown.
Off the Radar was a sustainable living show which saw him spending ten months attempting to subsist off a small allocation of land. After reaching number one in the ratings, it was turned into a book for Harper Collins. Meanwhile the Homegrown series investigated how New Zealand’s produce and natural resources have shaped the country, both culturally and economically.
Next came Radar's Patch, which saw him continuing his mission to live sustainably, this time from a quarter acre paradise in the city. The show won a 2010 Qantas award for Best Information/Lifestyle programme. Follow-up series Global Radar, another award-winner, saw Te Radar talking environmental matters in a range of overseas locales, from Tonga to Rwanda.
His other television credits include appearances in Eating Media Lunch, At Least You Are Havin’ A Go, and Gather Round.
Te Radar has won two Qantas Media Awards for his newspaper columns, and others for comedy (including the 1998 Billy T award, the 2008 Kevin Smith Memorial Cup for Artistic Achievement).
He has been a regular fixture on National Radio’s satirical review show on Nine to Noon, plus all 12 series of radio quiz show Off The Wire.
He has directed for theatre, and wrote and directed The Journey, judged best film in the 2004 48 Hour Film Festival. He also continues to work on film The Battle for Pahrump, the story of a town in Nevada as it wrestles with the 2004 and 2008 US presidential campaigns.
Te Radar: Opinionist website. Accessed 31 October 2018
Nick Grant, 'INTERVIEW: Putting the Te in Radar' - Onfilm, September 2006
Karen Holdom, 'Comic confusion' - The Sunday Star-Times, 13 September 1998, page F11