A celebration of the life of New Zealand dance, cabaret and recording legend, the late Pat McMinn, takes place at Tauranga Musical Theatre on Saturday.

The theatre at 17th Ave will come alive to the memory of McMinn, the former Tauranga tap and jazz dance teacher who died recently at Althorp Village aged 91.

''It will be an opportunity to share stories about a very special lady known to most as Aunty Pat,'' a friend Kaye Webster said.

The celebration beginning at 2pm will also feature entertainment by the Bay Dixie Band, Barry Spedding, and song and dance items by Tauranga children.


''There is no door charge however a small plate for a shared afternoon tea would be appreciated,'' Webster said.

People wanting to attend have been asked to email her at kayescar@hotmail.com to get an indication of numbers.

McMinn, one of New Zealand's last old-time showbiz personalities, was remembered during a special radio show on Anzac Day last week for her two stints singing and dancing for New Zealand troops in Korea in 1953-54.

She started learning Highland dancing at the age of six when New Zealand was in the grips of the Great Depression. The family's move from Taumarunui to Auckland when she was eight years old set her life on a course that led her to become a star of the 1950s and 1960s.

McMinn made her singing debut aged 10 on 1ZB's children's show Neddo's Jolly Pirates. Five years later she won a competition to sing at Auckland's Dixieland dance hall.

She soon became well known for her voice and attracted large crowds to her performances during World War II and in the post-war years.

Her name would always be associated with the hit single, Opo the Crazy Dolphin released in 1956, along with her renditions of the Doris Day songs Mr Tap Toes and This Ole House. McMinn even did advertising jingles, with her name forever associated with Geddes dentures.

She shifted to Tauranga in 1987, intending to retire but resumed taking dance classes when she discovered the city had no tap teacher - entering a new phase of an eventful life.


Another celebration of McMinn's life takes place at Auckland Grammar's Centennial Theatre on July 14 starting at 2pm, led by veteran entertainer Max Cryer.

Patricia (Pat) McMinn
- Born Gisborne December 9, 1926.
- Variety Artists Club's Benny Award 1971
- OBE for Services to Entertainment 1977
- Died Tauranga March 24, 2018.