Arthur Baysting Profile

Chris Bourke
30 Sep 2019

In his long career in New Zealand music, entertainment and other cultural pursuits, Arthur Baysting has worn more hats than his childhood hero Tex Morton. The most famous is the white fedora of his 1970s alter ego Neville Purvis.

Since first emerging in 1968 as a journalist, Baysting has been a pioneering pop critic, poet, editor, reviewer, stand-up comedian, cabaret MC, script writer for film and TV, documentary maker, songwriter, music campaigner, and activist in issues ranging from copyright to children’s rights. Behind the scenes he has been an advocate, facilitator and motivator, encouraging others to fulfil their artistic potential.

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Watch: Prime Minister Robert Muldoon opens the first Neville Purvis Family Show.
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At the APRA Silver Scroll Awards in early 2000s, from left: Mike Chunn, Bill Moran, Arthur Baysting, Brent Eccles, and Trevor Mallard.
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Neville Purvis with ukulele, on stage at the Maidment Theatre, Auckland, 1978. 
Photo credit: Arthur Baysting collection
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Arthur Baysting in the 2000s, at the Sydney offices of his music publisher ORiGiN. 
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Mike Chunn, Jeremy Fabinyi of AMPAL/AMCOS and Arthur Baysting at the 1996 APRA Silver Scroll
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Arthur Baysting, APRA, 1990s.
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Deborah Hunt and Sally Rodwell of Red Mole, with Neville Purvis (Arthur Baysting) backstage at Cabaret Capital Strut, Carmen's Balcony, Wellington, 1977. 
Photo credit: Red Mole archive/new zealand electronic poetry centre
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Police letter regarding Neville Purvis's bad language, 15 February, 1980. 
Photo credit: Arthur Baysting collection
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Arthur Baysting with Australian performer and TV presenter Justine Clarke. The pair co-authored children's book  The Gobbledygook is Eating a Book in 2012, shortlisted as Best Children's Book in the Australian Book Awards. Clarke's 2012 CD Little Day Out, featuring Baysting's songs, won Best Children's Album at the Australian ARIA music industry awards. In 2014 he received a platinum record for 70,000 sales of Clarke's CD, I Like to Sing.
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Arthur Baysting, Auckland, c. 1970.
Photo credit: Jan Kemp
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Neville on the level: a strip cartoon poster for Arthur Baysting's Neville Purvis, by Joe Wylie, 1977.
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Sally Rodwell, left, and Deborah Hunt of Red Mole, with Neville Purvis (Arthur Baysting) backstage at Cabaret Capital Strut, Carmen's Balcony, Wellington, 1977.
Photo credit: Red Mole archive/new zealand electronic poetry centre
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Arthur Baysting with children's songwriting collaborators Peter Dasent and Suzy Cato, Auckland.
Photo credit: Suzy Cato collection
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Neville Purvis and Cousin Cheryl - Arthur Baysting and Jean Clarkson - walk the police gauntlet to attend the premiere of 'Sleeping Dogs' at the Auckland Civic, 6 October 1977. 
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Arthur Baysting with Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Daphne Walker, October 2018.
Photo credit: Michael Colonna
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Neville Purvis at your service: illustration by Joe Wylie, 1977.
Photo credit: Joe Wylie
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Arthur Baysting as Neville Purvis, 1979. 
Photo credit: Arthur Baysting collection
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Arthur Baysting, Petrina Togi-Sa’ena of the Pacific Music Awards Trust, Jean Clarkson, and Rosie Baysting.
Photo credit: Petrina Togi-Sa’ena collection
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Watch: Neville Purvis at Nambassa Festival, 1979
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Arthur Baysting, from his 1972 poetry collection 'Over the Horizon', hand-set in 14pt Garamond by his wife Jean - called Gene in the dedication - and the legendary Elam typographer Robin Lush. 
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The lineup for Rough Justice's farewell party in July 1979 also included the Wide Mouthed Frogs, Neville Purvis, Gary McCormick, the Ducks (featuring Bill Lake), and the Windy City Strugglers. 
Photo credit: NZSA90480, New Zealand Students Arts Council Archives, J C Beaglehole Room, Victoria Unversity of Wellington. 
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Arthur Baysting, left, with the St John Ambulance, Nelson, 1961.
Photo credit: Nelson Photo News
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A gathering at Apra's offices in Parnell, mid 1990s. Among those present are, from left, Dave Dobbyn, Neil Finn, Karl Steven, Donna White, Sophie Cook, Chris Bourke, Eddie Rayner (front), Greg Clark, Victoria Kelly, Dave Gent, Debbie Harwood, unidentified, Liz Gallagher, Arthur Baysting.
Photo credit: Apra NZ
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Flyer for Kiwi Night, Sydney, 6 December 1983.
Photo credit: Arthur Baysting collection
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Windy City Strugglers - Can't Get Back (written by Bill Lake and Arthur Baysting)
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Kiwi Night explained for Australians, Sydney, early 1980s. 
Photo credit: Arthur Baysting collection
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'The Gobbledygook is Eating a Book', by Justine Clarke and Arthur Baysting; illustrated by Tom Jellett (Penguin, Australia, 2012). 
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Making Music - Bill Lake (2005) - series produced and directed by Arthur Baysting
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Neville Purvis with his 1958 Zephyr Mark II, parked up outside Mt Eden Prison, c.1979. 
Photo credit: Arthur Baysting collection
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Rules for performers at Kiwi Night, Sydney, early 1980s
Photo credit: Arthur Baysting collection
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Arthur Baysting at the APRA Silver Scroll Awards.
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Poster for the Red Mole production Ghost Rite, with the Country Flyers and Neville Purvis, 1978. 
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Crossing the Tracks, an album of Red Mole alumnae: the Country Flyers, Jan Preston, Beaver, Alan Brunton, Neville Purvis, and Red Alert (later known as the Drongos). Red Alert's tracks were recorded live at the Maidment theatre, Auckland (Mascot, 1978). 
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Advertisement for the 'It Takes Money' single from Neville Purvis, Rip It Up, July 1978.
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Transcripts of the panel discussions at the 1987 Kiwi Music Convention, edited by Arthur Baysting (Ode, 1989). 
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Arthur Baysting in the Listener, 17 January 1976.
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Arthur Baysting, exhausted after organising two days of intense, fractious discussion at the Kiwi Music Convention, Wellington, April 1987.
Photo credit: Jocelyn Carlin
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A garden party at 2 Ayr Street, Parnell, c. 1972. Arthur Baysting is sitting in the centre, with bow tie. David Mitchell, poet, is on the grass in front of him. Jan Kemp is at the back left, the fourth visible person; on her right are writer Russell Haley and his wife Jean. The tall man two along on her left is artist Rodney Fumpston; writer Barry Southam on the far right.
Photo credit: Jan Kemp collection
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A Kiwi Music Action Group meeting, early 1990s. From left: Arthur Baysting (APRA), Michael Glading (RIANZ and Sony Music), Jeremy Miller (91FM), Brendan Smyth (NZ On Air) and Steven Joyce (broadcaster)
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Tony Backhouse, Arthur Baysting, and Nick Bollinger, Grey Lynn, Auckland.
Photo credit: Arthur Baysting collection
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Arthur Baysting while representing New Zealand songwriters as writer-director on the APRA board in the 1990s. 
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Neville Purvis and Robert Muldoon. Auckland Star, 13 September 1979.
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The Neville Purvis Family Show (1979)
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The Young New Zealand Poets, edited by Arthur Baysting (Heinemann, Auckland, 1973).
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Neville Purvis flanked by fans, late 1970s. 
Photo credit: Arthur Baysting collection
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Arthur Baysting, Grey Lynn, c. 1992.
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Arthur Baysting and Bill Lake, Wellington, 22 January 2019. 
Photo credit: Chris Bourke
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Arthur Baysting and Jenny Morris, APRA Silver Scroll awards, Auckland, October 2018.
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Suzy Cato - We're All Gonna Have Some Fun (written by Suzy Cato with Peter Dasent and Arthur Baysting)
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Joe Wylie's front sleeve for the Neville Purvis (aka Arthur Baysting) single It Takes Money b/w Disco On My Radio (Vertigo, 1977). 'It Takes Money' was co-written by Purvis and Jan Preston; 'Disco' by Purvis alone. The musicians were mostly members of the Red Mole band, with Beaver and Jean McAllister - the "Purvettes" - on backing vocals.
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Sleeping Dogs, 1977, directed by Roger Donaldson. Screenplay by Ian Mune and Arthur Baysting, based on the book Smith's Dream by CK Stead.
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Brendan Smyth of NZ On Air with Arthur Baysting, in the 2000s. 
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"On this show, the car is the star" - Neville Purvis with his beloved 1958 Mark II Zephyr, 1979. 
Photo credit: Arthur Baysting collection
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Arthur Baysting with Suzy Cato and actor Jay Laga'aia, 2010s. 
Photo credit: Suzy Cato collection
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Joe Wylie's illustration for the back of the picture sleeve for Neville Purvis's single 'It Takes Money'/'Disco on My Radio' (Vertigo, 1977).
Photo credit: Joe Wylie
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Flyer for the fourth annual Kiwi Night, organised by Arthur Baysting, Sydney, 10 December 1984.
Photo credit: Arthur Baysting collection
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In the early 90s Arthur Baysting helped create the Green Ribbon Trust campaign. Green Ribbon lobbied for more local content on television, for a 20% quota for NZ music on commercial radio, for a Music Commission and for a non-commercial national radio network for young people. The first three goals were achieved; the youth radio network never eventuated.
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