Barry Saunders Profile

John Pilley
25 Apr 2019

With deep rural roots, and a restlessness that has taken him down every backroad, through ghost towns and past shuttered memorial halls, it is understandable that Barry Saunders has become one of New Zealand’s most recognisable voices by describing the country and its characters. The last 50 years have been a continual road trip of shared music, conversations and observations that have all led to songs that tumble out like faded photos from a much-thumbed album.

Since the mid-1980s he has fronted The Warratahs, whose songs have become part of the soundscape. Their TV advertisement for the Interislander connected them with fans just as the ferries connect New Zealand. Alongside his work with the Warratahs, several solo albums have provided Saunders with a more personal outlet for his prolific songwriting and his gritty, everyman voice.

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The Warratahs in the 2000s. Left to right: Mike Knapp, Barry Saunders, Nik Brown, Alan Norman.
Photo credit: Trevor Reekie Collection
The most recognisable Warratahs line-up that recorded two albums and toured virtually nonstop from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. Left to right: Wayne Mason, Barry Saunders, Clinton Brown, Rob Clarkson, Nik Brown.
Photo credit: Trevor Reekie Collection
The Warratahs, early 1990s. From left: Wayne Mason, Nik Brown, and Barry Saunders. 
Barry Saunders, Greytown, 2006.
Photo credit: Simon Burt
Barry Saunders
The Warratahs - Maureen (1987)
Barry Saunders (left) with Alan Norman and Caroline Easther, in a photo taken for Saunders's Magnetic South CD, 1998. 
Photo credit: Guy Robinson
The Tigers Mk.2: Wayne Mason, Michael Knapp, Barry Saunders, Nick Theobald, Steve Lunn
Photo credit: Nick Theobald collection
Barry Saunders - Zodiac
Delaney Davidson, Tami Neilson, Barry Saunders, and Marlon Williams - 'The New Sound of Country' - 2015. 
Barry Saunders, Greytown, 2006.
Photo credit: Simon Burt
Barry Saunders - Weatherman album, 1995
Barry Saunders sings in the The Orange, Christchurch, c. 1970
Delaney Davidson, Tami Neilson, Marlon Williams, and Barry Saunders on the 2015 church tour featured in the Notable Films' documentary 'The New Sound of Country'.
Publicity photo, The Tigers.
Delaney Davidson, Tami Neilson, Barry Saunders, and Marlon Williams - ''The New Sound of Country' - 2015. 
Barry Saunders with The Orange in Christchurch, 1969
Photo credit: Kevin Hill
Barry Saunders
Kevin Bayley and Barry Saunders in Rockinghorse circa 1978
Photo credit: Photo by Graham Potter
Barry Saunders - Rescue Me
Barry Saunders, 2008
Photo credit: Pat Shepherd
Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders - Word Gets Around (2019)
The Tigers' 3rd single Don't Wanna Go Home (1981), from their Australian recorded album
Barry Saunders - Magnetic South (1998)
Barry Saunders (right) in a teenage band while at Hillmorton High, Hoon Hay, Christchurch, mid-1960s. 
Barry Saunders with Delaney Davidson, 2019
The short-lived Warratahs line-up between The Only Game In Town and Too Hot To Sleep. Left to right: Nik Brown, John Donoghue, Barry Saunders (seated), Wayne Mason, Rob Clarkson.
Photo credit: David Hamilton - Murray Cammick Collection
Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders - Out Of Our Hands (2019)
Barry Saunders
Tigers - Don't Wanna Go Home (1981)
Barry Saunders in The Last Waltz 40th Anniversary Tribute rehearsals
The Warratahs, photographed on the Desert Road, 1990. From left: Rob Clarkson, Nik Brown, Wayne Mason, Barry Saunders, and Clinton Brown. 
Photo credit: Polly Walker
Barry Saunders, 1995. 
Photo credit: Guy Robinson
Barry Saunders, Ryan Monga and Charlie Tumahai being interviewed at the 1988 Apra Silver Scroll. 
Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders perform 19 Days for RNZ (2017)
Barry Saunders - Here Comes Tomorrow
Barry Saunders
Barry Saunders's first solo album, 'Long Shadows', 1992. 
'Portrait of Barry Saunders' by Stephen Marty Welch (oil on canvas, 102 x 102cm) was used as the cover for the 2010 CD compilation 'Far As The Eye Can See'. 
Barry Saunders in the 2000s. 
Photo credit: Michael Hall
Barry Saunders, Wellington, 2010s. 
Photo credit: Ebony Lamb
Adam McGrath and Barry Saunders sing the Warratahs classic Hands Of My Heart at Blue Smoke, Christchurch, 2016.
The Goodtime Band, summer 1984-85. Left to right, Sonny Day, Neil Edwards, Walter Bianco, Josie Rika, Mike Abbott, Beaver, Barry Saunders, Paul Hewson.
Photo credit: Jane West collection
Nik Brown and Barry Saunders with The Warratahs at Snobbz Nightclub, Hastings, 1990.
Photo credit: Glen Moffatt collection
Barry Saunders and Delaney Davidson, 2019.
Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders - Word Gets Around (2019)
An in-store appearance for the release of Barry Saunders's 'Magnetic South' album, Kilbirnie, Wellington, 1998. From left: Alan Norman, Barry Saunders, Caroline Easther. 
Photo credit: Caroline Easther collection
Barry Saunders and Delaney Davidson, 2019.
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