Mayor pays tribute to Ray Henwood

26 August 2019

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester has paid tribute to Ray Henwood, following the actor’s death at the age of 82.

“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 loved him. 

“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 theatre scene. 

“My personal and heart-felt condolences go to his family,” the Mayor says.