‘A true icon of New Zealand broadcasting’

McHairy was Merv’s spider sidekick.
Photo: NewstalkZB

I have lost a very dear friend and broadcasting colleague with the passing of Merv Smith yesterday. Merv was a true icon of New Zealand broadcasting and was an extremely creative, humorous, yet a very humble and kind man who espoused high values.

He was an extraordinary talent and his many years as a top rating breakfast show host
on 1ZB is a feat that will probably never be bettered.

Merv left IZB and moved to Radio I where he again topped the ratings. A stint with Radio Pacific followed before he and I launched FM Country at Albany.

He also gave over thirty years service to the Royal NZ Foundation for the Blind as a reader for their talking books.

His talents also extended to the acting world where he had parts in movies such as The Hobbit and Television shows including Shortland Street and Mercy Peak.

Photo: NewstalkZB

Merv?s other love was trains and up until his death, he was still building model carriages and railway buildings.

Here is a very good interview with National Radio?s David Steemson with Merv on the occasion of his 80th birthday. There are no doubt some who remember him and may wish to listen to it. quote.


For twenty five years Merv Smith was a house-hold name as he fronted the breakfast show on Auckland’s 1ZB, New Zealand’s first commercial radio station. Thousands tuned in to the Early Bird show to hear Merv, his Scottish spider friend McHairy, and his ubiquitous train whistle. David Steemson drops in on Merv who has turned 80 this year. End quote.

-Spectrum for 2 June 2013

Photo: NewstalkZB


by John Chapman