Kevan Moore was 11 years old when his family arrived in New Zealand from the English city of Bradford. Later a bus ride from his home in Governor's Bay to Christchurch Boys' High School set him on the path of a career in broadcasting. Asked by fellow passenger and writer Douglas Cresswell what he planned to do after leaving school the next year, Moore replied he didn't know. Cresswell suggested he get into something new, and that the newest thing was television.
The idea stuck, though Moore's first job out of school was at Christchurch radio station 3YA. From there he moved to Australia and continued in radio before joining television channel Channel 9 In Sydney, as a sound technician. There he advanced through floor managing to producing current affairs.
By now television had been established in New Zealand, and Moore returned to join the fledgling Kiwi industry.
His interest in entertainment shows found its first expression in 1962 with In the Groove, which he produced. First screened by Auckland's AKTV-1 and then later on the other regional channels in those pre-network days, the show was compered by future tour promoter Stewart McPherson. It featured a panel of young people giving their views on "current pop records".
Let's Go followed in 1964, the show on which Moore first utilised versatile DJ Peter Sinclair. Featuring resident bands, first the Librettos and later the Pleasers, the show coincided with the youth-led social revolution of the mid-60s. Along with its successor C'mon, which was aimed at viewers who were under 20, Let's Go helped put New Zealand musicians and talent at the forefront.
C'mon also featured Peter Sinclair, and proved hugely popular with its frenetic pace and go-go dancers, not to mention the latest hits sung by local stars. Moore argues that the show "developed new visual styles", pushing technical barriers. It also brought many well-known Kiwi performers their first national TV exposure, including Mr Lee Grant, Sandy Edmonds, Herma Keil, Tommy Adderley, Ray Woolf and the Chicks.
C'mon's run eventually ended in 1969. According to Moore the axing came about by mutual consent. Moore accepted the public was concerned by the way popular music was heading, with more obvious references to drugs and sex, but felt uneasy that the show was ignoring potentially troubling songs or toning down the lyrics.
Its successor, the toned down Happen Inn, also featured Peter Sinclair. It lasted from 1970 until 1973. That marked the end of Moore's association with Sinclair, and his next project, Free Ride, featured pop star Ray Columbus. It was New Zealand's first colour music show, and the first of its type to be broadcast on the newly completed national network. Moore revelled in the chance to "throw in everything", with bright visuals patterns alongside a rough-edged live style, in keeping with the rock music that took primary position.
During this period Kevan Moore had also been busying himself in current affairs. In 1965 he produced and directed the first series of regional news and current affairs show Town and Around in Wellington. The format was repeated in the other main centres in following years. Moore regards the show as invaluable in having introduced and trained up "a lot of talent that influenced television in subsequent years".
Moore also devised hugely popular astronomy series The Night Sky, which ran from 1963 to 1974. Working with astronomer and presenter Peter Read helped convince Moore that "the best talent on television is the enthusiast, who is so immersed in their subject, that they can communicate their enthusiasm to the viewer."
When star interviewer David Frost flew into New Zealand in 1973, to host six one-hour-long episodes of Frost over New Zealand in just four days, Moore was the one sitting in the director's chair. Moore remembers the British presenter as "totally pro".
In 1975 Moore took over as Head of Programmes at the newly established second channel South Pacific Television (TV2) and while there he helped nurture a new wave of young producers including Peter Grattan, Kevin Cameron, Chris Bailey and Ricky Stratful. In 1976 he gave Grattan the go-ahead to launch probably the last of the great Kiwi TV music shows: Radio With Pictures. Moore said that the title was inspired by a remark by early NZBC Director-General Gilbert Stringer, who argued that television was just radio with pictures.
Moore left public broadcasting in 1980 to set up his own production company - producing the Tina Grenville fronted Good Morning show, and It's Academic, a quiz show for high school students, whose competitive format some educationalists found problematic ). Moore also got into the antique business, and has devoted time to writing both fiction and non-fiction.
Profile written by Keith Tannock; updated on 14 March 2022
'Kevan Moore: the man behind the music shows...' (Video Interview) NZ On Screen website. Director Andrew Whiteside. Loaded 10 January 2017. Accessed 10 January 2017
Maurice Smyth, 'Producer switches from box to vintner' - The Aucklander, 27 September 2006
Nigel Snowdon, 'Kevan Moore on early NZ music television' (Interview) - The Book of BiFim, 1987
'Reeling in the years - Kevan Moore' (Radio Interview) Radio New Zealand website. Loaded 24 November 2009. Accessed 14 August 2016
'Television in New Zealand - Kiwi music shows on TV' NZ History website. Upated 30 May 2010. Accessed 18 August 2016