Colin Scrimgeour

Last updated

Colin Scrimgeour
Colin Scrimgeour.jpg
Scrimgeour in the 1930s
Colin Graham Scrimgeour

30 January 1903
Wairoa, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Died16 January 1987 (aged 83)
OccupationReverent, radio and television broadcaster, theatre co-founder
Awards King George VI Coronation Medal, Chinese Star of Friendship

The Reverend Colin Graham Scrimgeour (30 January 1903 – 16 January 1987), also known as Uncle Scrim or Scrim, was a New Zealand Methodist Minister and broadcaster.



Life and ministry

Born in Wairoa, Hawke's Bay, he entered the Methodist Ministry in 1923 and concentrated on social work. He was Auckland Methodist City Missioner for six years. After broadcasting from Radio Station 1ZR - run by the firm of Lewis Eady - he established the Friendly Road Broadcasting Station 1ZB in 1933, associated with the Friendly Road church (Aunt Daisy broadcast on these stations, and they supported the Labour Party). Shortly before the 1935 election on Sunday 24 November, an address by Uncle Scrim which was expected to urge listeners to vote Labour was jammed by the Post Office. The minister in charge of the P&T Department, Adam Hamilton, was blamed, although he denied responsibility.

As a close friend of Michael Joseph Savage and John A. Lee of the First Labour Government which came to power in 1935, Scrimgeour became Controller of the government-run National Commercial Broadcasting Service.

Peter Fraser – an enemy of Scrimgeour – succeeded Savage as Prime Minister after the latter's death in 1940. In the 1943 elections, Scrimgeour stood against Fraser in Wellington Central as an Independent candidate. He performed so well that Fraser (hitherto expected to win his seat comfortably) "only sneaked back on a minority vote". [1]

Entertainment - radio and television career

Scrimgeour was suspended and then sacked in 1943. He moved to Australia, and worked in radio and television there, helping establish the Mercury Theatre in Sydney, New South Wales with Peter Finch. He also worked for a time in (Communist) China before he retired to New Zealand in 1968.


Scrimgeour was awarded the King George VI Coronation Medal in 1937 and the Chinese Star of Friendship (NZ Roll of Honour, p. 949).


Mervyn Thompson wrote a 1976 songplay about the Great Depression, Songs to Uncle Scrim.

See also


  1. Erik Olssen, John A. Lee , University of Otago Press, Dunedin, 1977, p. 189

Related Research Articles

Michael Joseph Savage

Michael Joseph Savage was a New Zealand politician who served as the 23rd Prime Minister of New Zealand, heading the First Labour Government from 6 December 1935 until his death.

Peter Fraser

Peter Fraser was a New Zealand politician who served as the 24th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 27 March 1940 until 13 December 1949. Considered a major figure in the history of the New Zealand Labour Party, he was in office longer than any other Labour prime minister, and is to date New Zealand's fourth-longest-serving head of government.

1935 New Zealand general election

The 1935 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 25th term. It resulted in the Labour Party's first electoral victory, with Michael Joseph Savage becoming the first Labour Prime Minister. The governing coalition, consisting of the United Party and the Reform Party, suffered a major defeat, attributed by many to their handling of the Great Depression. The year after the election, United and Reform took their coalition further, merging to form the modern National Party.

1943 New Zealand general election

The 1943 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 27th term. With the onset of World War II, elections were initially postponed, but it was eventually decided to hold a general election in September 1943, around two years after it would normally have occurred. The election saw the governing Labour Party re-elected by a comfortable margin, although the party nevertheless lost considerable ground to the expanding National Party.

Scrim can refer to:

John A. Lee New Zealand politician (1891-1982)

John Alfred Alexander Lee was a New Zealand politician and writer. He is one of the more prominent avowed socialists in New Zealand's political history.

The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) was a left-wing political party in New Zealand in the 1940s. It was a splinter from the larger Labour Party, and was led by the prominent socialist John A. Lee.

Adam Hamilton New Zealand politician

Adam Hamilton was a New Zealand politician. He was the first non-interim Leader of the National Party during its early years in Opposition.

Paddy Webb

Patrick Charles Webb was a New Zealand trade unionist and politician.

Aunt Daisy New Zealand broadcaster

Maud Ruby Basham, usually known as Daisy Basham or professionally as Aunt Daisy, was a New Zealand radio broadcaster from 1930 to 1963. Her various nicknames included "New Zealand's First Lady of the Radio", "Everybody's Aunt" and "The Mighty Atom" due to her 'radio activity' but also a comment on her small stature.

Harry Atmore New Zealand politician

Harry Atmore was a New Zealand Independent Member of Parliament for Nelson in the South Island.

Mervyn Garfield Thompson (1935–1992) was a New Zealand coal miner, academic, playwright and theatre director. He was one of the founders of Court Theatre in Christchurch, an artistic director of Downstage Theatre in Wellington and Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury. His theatrical writing championed the downtrodden and featured a revival and refinement of the genre of songspiel. He is regarded as one of New Zealand's most significant and controversial playwrights.

Frank Langstone New Zealand politician

Frank Langstone was a New Zealand Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister and High Commissioner to Canada.

Bill Jordan (politician)

Sir William Joseph Jordan was a New Zealand Labour Party Member of Parliament, and New Zealand's longest-serving high commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1936 to 1951.

Clyde Carr New Zealand politician

Clyde Leonard Carr was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party, and was a minister of the Congregational Church.

Fred Frost

Reverend Frederick Ledger Frost was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.

Lee Martin (politician)

William Lee Martin, known as Lee Martin, was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.

Harold Bertram Turbott was a notable New Zealand doctor, public health administrator, broadcaster and writer. For four decades he broadcast a weekly talk on health on the radio.

The New Zealand Labour Party leadership election, 1940 was held on 4 April 1940 to choose the fourth leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. The election was won by Wellington Central MP Peter Fraser.

1933 New Zealand Labour Party leadership election

The 1933 New Zealand Labour Party leadership election was held on 12 October 1933 to choose the third leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. The election was won by Auckland West MP and incumbent deputy-leader Michael Joseph Savage.


Further reading

Scrimgeour, Colin. "The power of radio". In Owen, Alwyn (ed.). Snapshots of the Century: 'Spectrum' covers 100 years of New Zealand history. Auckland: Tandem Press. 1998. pp. 49–62. ISBN   1-877178-306.