Debbie Harwood Profile

Gabe McDonnell
4 May 2019

Debbie Harwood is a Renaissance woman of the New Zealand music industry. She shot into national consciousness with late-1980s supergroup When The Cat’s Away, but she started her career away from the microphone in a wide variety of senior management and production roles. She has been a radio host, a publicist and a music mentor and has always championed the work of female singer/songwriters.

Although many people discouraged a career in music, she says, “It was the only thing that brought me glistening joy so that’s what I focused on. The pull to music was always the strongest urge my whole life and still is.”

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Debbie Harwood photographed for the Live in Paradise tour, 2001
Photo credit: Photo by Anthony O'Dwyer
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Debbie Harwood and Kevin Borich touring with Jimmy Barnes, 1990.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood with percussionist Jay Foulkes.
Photo credit: Rikki Morris
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When the Cat's Away review.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood and Johnny Bongo, 'Blue Water', 1987
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Debbie Harwood.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood in When the Cat's Away. From left: Annie Crummer, Margaret Urlich, Dianne Swann (obscured) Debbie Harwood, Kim Willoughby.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood in transit, When The Cat's Away.
Photo credit: Rikki Morris
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An early When The Cat's Away publicity shot: Dianne Swann, Debbie Harwood, Kim Willoughby (front), Margaret Urlich and Annie Crummer
Photo credit: Paul Ellis
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Advertisement for Raven at the Ahuriri Tavern.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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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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Debbie Harwood in When the Cat's Away, Wildlife, 1986.
Photo credit: Graham Hooper
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When The Cat's Away, 2001: Debbie Harwood, Kim Willoughby, Annie Crummer and Margaret Urlich
Photo credit: Photo by Anthony O'Dwyer
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Debbie Harwood and Annie Crummer on tour with When The Cat's Away.
Photo credit: Rikki Morris
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Raven, Napier, 1980. From left: Glen Mayo, Jo Atkin, Debbie Harwood, Chris Elliott, Dave Cleaver.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood and Mark Roach
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When The Cat's Away, before the 1989/90 Free Ride tour, all "pregnant" with Debbie Harwood - who actually was.
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Debbie Harwood in Hasting Musical Comedy Company's production Salad Days.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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The World video shoot, c. 1986.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood, 1984.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood in When the Cat's Away with Margaret Urlich at left, Dianne Swann and Kim Willoughby at right.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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When The Cat's Away's tour group on the Asian Paradise tour, 2001: George Gorga (front of house sound), Robbie Barclay (production manager), Dave McIvor (crew), Marty Reynolds (lighting), Tony Flett (stage), Paul Lopez (crew), Colin Burrell (monitors), Rick Brown (stage), Ian Magan (promoter) and sprawled across the band, Chris Tate (sound). In front: Sharon O'Neill, Debbie Harwood, Kim Willoughby, Margaret Urlich and Annie Crummer.
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
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Debbie Harwood in Big Sideways.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood and Dianne Swann in Masterton with When the Cats Away, 1987
Photo credit: Photo by Mike Warman
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When The Cat's Away in New Plymouth, 1988: Annie Crummer, Debbie Harwood, Kim Willoughby, Dianne Swann and Margaret Urlich
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Debbie Harwood in the green room, on tour with When The Cat's Away.
Photo credit: Rikki Morris
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'Asian Paradise', When the Cats Away, 2001
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Debbie Harwood, 1993.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Citizen Band promo card with Debbie Harwood as bookings contact. Pictured: Mike Chunn, Geoff Chunn, Greg Clark.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood with Rikki Morris and Aishah from Fan Club (left). 
Photo credit: Rikki Morris collection
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Debbie Harwood (centre) while tour manager of the Screaming Meemees and the Dance Exponents, 1982. From left: Peter van der Fluit, Tony Drumm, Debbie Harwood, Jordan Luck, and Martin Morris.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Kim Willoughby, Annie Crummer and Debbie Harwood pictured onstage with When The Cat's Away.
Photo credit: Rikki Morris
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Ray Columbus and various children, including Mike Chunn's son Nikko, during the filming of Ray's No.2 duet with Double J And Twice The T, a pop-rap remake of 'She's a Mod', 1989. Peeking through the curtain are Rikki Morris and Debbie Harwood, then hosts of the TV show 3.45 Live.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Debbie Harwood in Big Sideways, 1983.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood with Gary Verberne, on the road in the When The Cat's Away tour bus.
Photo credit: Rikki Morris
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'Melting Pot', When the Cats Away, 1988
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Debbie Harwood, 'If That Will Make You Happy', 1985
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When the Cats Away TV documentary, 1987, part 1
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Debbie Harwood, 1984.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood, 1984.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood onstage with Jimmy Barnes in Sydney.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood on tour with When The Cat's Away.
Photo credit: Rikki Morris
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Debbie Harwood with Hugh Lynn and Mike Chunn, 1984.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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When The Cat's Away: Kim Willoughby, Margaret Urlich, Debbie Harwood, Dianne Swann, Annie Crummer.
Photo credit: Rikki Morris
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Debbie Harwood.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood in 1986, at the time of 'Blue Water' single with Johnny Bongo
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood at the photo shoot for her second single, 'Just to Be With You', 1985. 
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Pagan Records' Sheryl Morris and Debbie Harwood
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Debbie Harwood and Shona Laing sing 'Show Your Love' on RNZ, 2016
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Mushroom Records NZ staff: Bridget Delauney, Debbie Harwood, Debbie Mains with Mike Chunn behind
Photo credit: Photo by Bryan Staff
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Debbie Harwood guests on Sweet Soul Music, 1986
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Kim Willoughby, Debbie Harwood, Rikki Morris, Annie Crummer, Regent Hotel, 1990.
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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Debbie Harwood, Annie Crummer and Margaret Urlich.
Photo credit: Rikki Morris
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The World, 1985. From left: Annie Crummer, Andrew Todd, Gary Verberne, Debbie Harwood, Justin Harwood (front), Tim Robinson. 
Photo credit: Debbie Harwood Collection
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