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First published September 2007, last updated March 2016

Barry can be contacted at


Photos & Memorabilia - Premiers

The Premiers

I joined the Band in early 1961 shortly after the name was changed from the Swampdwellers and had the best part of an enjoyable two years playing with the Premiers at local gigs, youth clubs and Des Britten’s famous Coca Cola Hi Fi dances at the Town Hall, which were really a festival of bands including The Skyrockets, Librettos, Tony & The Initials and The Diplomats.

Highlights of the time were a trip to Dunedin to play at the Dunedin Town Hall as guests of Joe Brown and a gig at Palmerston North with Bill and Boyd.  For both of these trips we donned our new satin jerkins with Spanish ladies, (I still have mine somewhere).  I understand that the Spanish ladies were hand painted by a lady who was related to one of the boys in the Band.

Another memorable trip was to Napier for a show featuring some local bands where we stayed overnight at Teddy Bennett’s family home, I think that I had to share a bed with Ken Cooper on that occasion!

In the Christmas holiday of 1961 we established ourselves at Paraparaumu, the boys helped manage a ‘steak restaurant’ above or near the Blue Moon dance hall and on New Years Eve we played the night away, sharing spots with, from memory, the Librettos and Skyrockets on the skating rink, one of the few occasions which I never went to bed.  The endless Summer days were spent at the swimming hole at Reikorangi.

In my Band days I was saving for the ‘Big OE’ and gave up my architectural apprenticeship to become a Coca Cola ‘Route salesman’.  The job of slinging around crates of Coca Cola kept me fit while I was also playing senior Rugby for the now defunct Onslow Club.

Because of our isolation, New Zealand was bursting with its own musical talent, small centres like Napier had two or three very good bands.  When I arrived in London in late October 1962, pre-Beatles, I was not overly impressed that there was much more significant talent in the UK, they just seemed to have bigger audiences.

I left the Band for my OE in October 1962 and travelled on the maiden voyage of the Northern Star from Wellington to Southhampton.

Currently I am running my own architectural business in Wellington and would love to have a beer with any of the group that helped me enjoy a very happy and stress free time of my life.

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