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First published April 2009, last updated November 2017

Rochelle can be contacted at


Photos and Memorabilia Wellington 60's Reunions, Wellington 60's and 70's Reunions

(Hover over thumbnails for captions, and click on thumbnails to enlarge photos)

Photos of Rochelle Vinsen, Peter Posa, Ray Earle, Tom McDonald, Tommy Adderley, Neville Chamberlain, Bruce Warwick, Peter Hindmarsh, Mike Shackleton, Neil Harrap, Lani Love, Dennis Morehu, Derek Wright, Peter Hansen,and others



Rochelle's Story

My father and his brother ran the local picture theatres in the Wellington suburbs of Khandallah and Ngaio, so from a very young age, I grew up watching at least 3-4 full-length films weekly.  I particularly loved the “Hollywood’’ musicals and this started my dreaming of being a ‘pop singer’ and making records.

When I was in Form 1 (we called it Standard 5 back then) my teacher would get me to sing in front of the class, songs like ‘Lipstick On Your Collar” backing myself with a tennis racquet!!  Everyone loved it, and would applaud loudly; I guess I really loved that feeling, being ‘the centre of attention’ in a positive way.  I pleaded with my parents to learn the guitar and they paid for me to have professional tuition for several years.  I felt so good singing and playing all my favourite songs and loved getting my friends to sing-a-long with me at parties.

I adored Debbie Reynolds and joined her fan club when I was about 11 years old. Other early influences were Connie Francis and Sue Thompson alongside Elvis and Cliff.  I used to love singing “Norman” and “Sad Movies” plus “One Night With You” and “Jailhouse Rock”!  Later, I sang a lot of Linda Ronstadt songs plus material of ‘The Supremes”.

My decision to leave the pop music industry was partly due to the fact that my last 2 releases for H.M.V. had not sold well and I felt that to go further in this career, I would need to go to Australia.  This thought scared me, the drug scene etc., we were still quite sheltered from all that in 1965, in Wellington.  It felt much better to ‘settle’ down, get married and concentrate on the other career in my life, primary school teaching, which I had been training for during my time as a recording artist.  The fact I was well known, helped greatly on my teaching sections, I even took some students to watch a record being made.

All this eventually lead me onto the path of being a children’s recording artist and entertainer which I am still with today.

Some of the major highlights of my pop singing career:

The story of how I came to be a recording artist for H.M.V. is most interesting.  In the 5th form at Onslow College, I was invited to be the female vocalist in a band with some fellow pupils.  We entered “Have A Shot” on TV and made it to the semi-finals.  The following morning, I had taken the day off school and a man rang, saying he was from H.MV and would like to visit that day to discuss the possibility of me recording for them.  He arrived a few hours later and mentioned to my mother and I how he would arrange an audition in Auckland for me.  Of course I was most excited but after several weeks of no word from him, I began to wonder.

In Wellington, one day, wearing my school uniform after a school trip, I spied a notice on a building, which said, H.M.V. Studios, so up the stairs I went.  I told my story to the receptionist and Alec Mouat, the A&R man, happened to overhear my conversation as the offices were just partitioned.  He came out, told me that no such person worked for them and that although it was not normal procedure, if I came in the following week, he would give me an audition there at the studios!  The rest is history, the bogus talent scout brought me my lucky break after all!

The next challenge was actually getting my first release ”CANDY KISSES” played on air, to this day, I don’t think it ever has been!  H.M.V. went all out, sparing no expense on my record cover, I was the first NZ artist on their label to have their photo printed on the jacket cover!  Unfortunately, the chief programmer at Broadcasting thought that the mighty backing of Laurie Lewis and the Blockbusters (they had a powerful sound with lots of saxophone) decided the backing was too loud and it was not to be aired.  Well, all my school mates were beginning to think I was a fake, so in desperation and once again in my college uniform, I went knocking on Bas Tubert, the 2ZB breakfast announcer’s door.  He happened to live a few doors down from Onslow College and he kindly played the flipside, the following morning, and so all my friends believed me after all!! 

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