“Ray was an absolute stalwart of the
Wellington drama scene. His contribution to what we have today cannot be
understated,” the Mayor says.
“His first love was stage work and we
are thankful he graced the stage in Wellington. He loved the city and we also
“If you went to see a play with Ray in
the credits you knew you were going to see something special.”
Originally from Wales, Ray moved to
Wellington in 1962, aged 24, to teach maths and science at Mana College.
He then worked as a forensic
toxicologist at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and was
partly responsible for the introduction of the breathalyser to this country.
In 1964, he helped establish Downstage,
Wellington’s first professional theatre. In 1976, he and wife Carolyn decided
it was time for a second theatre and Circa Theatre was born.
Ray’s performance career has
encompassed radio, television and film. He became a household name through a
series of Moro Bar advertisements in the 70s and as Hugh in Sir Roger Hall’s
Gliding On in the mid-1980s.
Ray was made a member of the New
Zealand Order of Merit in 2006 for his services to theatre and the arts.
Earlier this year, Ray accepted an
Absolutely Positively Wellingtonian Award for his contribution to the city’s
“My personal and heart-felt condolences
go to his family,” the Mayor says.