The end of 6pm closing on October 9, 1967 brought many new opportunities to hotels throughout New Zealand in addition to the four extra hours per day they were permitted to sell alcohol.
Quick to realise this was Bill Franssen, manager of the Mayfair Hotel in Karamu Rd, Hastings.
He asked part-owner of Sutcliffe's music store, Owen Knight, if he would bring his band to play at the Mayfair on Friday and Saturday nights. He agreed to do this.
Around late 1969, Bill wanted Owen to play more than two nights. It was at that point Bill and Owen decided they needed a more structured approach to music entertainment at the Mayfair.
With Bill busy with the hotel and his other commitments, and Owen with running Sutcliffe's, Bill called Owen's wife Jean into the hotel to discuss booking musical acts for the hotel.
"Well", said Bill to Jean. "Both Owen and I are busy. You're not doing anything are you, Jean?" he asked rather cheekily. "Well, I am a mother," Jean replied.
Owen and Jean discussed Bill's proposal at home. It would be difficult at times with looking after their school-age children, but they formed Night Entertainment and Owen's mother would babysit when needed.
Using the kitchen table as an office and the rather now unfashionable New Zealand Postal and Telegraph's phone landline, Jean was in business.
By her own admission, Jean grew up as a "shy, land girl". Her father was managing a farm at Brooklands, but they moved to Hastings so Jean could attend high school. After 12 months they decided they preferred country life, so her father got a job as a shepherd and Jean as a land girl at Te Uri, a farm east of Dannevirke. When her father became unwell they shifted to Hastings where Jean, aged 18, looked for a job.
The job she landed, fatefully, was at Sutcliffe's, where she met and later married Owen Knight.
Jean would now have to "scrounge for bands", as she put it, and then deal with New Zealand's biggest music stars throughout the 1970s.
Local talent that Jean got to perform almost immediately was Doug Ryder, followed by Alan Bell.
The most popular stars to ever perform at the Mayfair Hotel over a number of years were contracted by chance – Prince Tui Teka and the Maori Volcanics (as Elvis was the King, why not Tui be the Prince, he told himself).
Prince Tui Teka had joined the Maori Volcanics in 1966 in Australia.
His father had passed away and he had come back to New Zealand for the tangi.
A patron recalled that night around 1970 when he saw Prince Tui in the Mayfair Hotel with his whānau. Owen Knight's band was backing a piano player.
There were calls for Prince Tui to take the microphone with 10 minutes till closing time ‒ which he did.
With the crowd on their feet, Bill Franssen and Jean were keen to sign this man - dressed in a bright yellow suit - for the Mayfair Hotel.
As soon as he finished his last song, Jean approached Prince Tui and asked if he would meet with her and Bill Franssen. He explained he was with the Maori Volcanics, and they would all like to come back to New Zealand to perform, but there was a cost associated with flights. Jean said if Night Entertainment paid for the flights over to play at the Mayfair Hotel could she represent them while in New Zealand? This was agreed to.
Such was the popularity of Prince Tui Teka and the Maori Volcanics, people queued up when the Mayfair's bar opened at 11am. According to Jean, those who couldn't get in would try to get a glimpse through the windows in the Carousel Bar.
When the group performed the Guitar Boogie – their signature tune – each band member would strum his own guitar while playing a chord on his neighbour's guitar, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.
Prince Tui had a wicked sense of humour, with many of his jokes told in te reo Māori. If he spied someone going to the toilet, he would speak to them from the stage: "Could you hear us in there?". Yes, she replied. "Well we could hear you too!"
Jean then booked Prince Tui and the Maori Volcanics for a tour around the North Island and travelled with them, often going to the next place before the band. She would catch a flight home for the weekend to be reunited with her two children.
Prince Tui Teka would go on to tour overseas with the Maori Volcanics until leaving the group in 1972 for a solo career, but would still perform at the Mayfair Hotel. On his final performance, he was presented with a golden microphone as a gift by the hotel.
Another extremely talented Māori musician was Abe Phillips, who first performed at the Mayfair with The Shadracks in 1969.
Abe would leave the Shadracks in 1971 and Jean was naturally keen to sign Abe up with Night Entertainment, but missed out. Tragically, Abe was killed in a car accident in December 1971 on the way back from a gig in Wellington.
Jean would form an alliance with a Mr Page in Auckland, from whom she would book bands for the Mayfair Hotel. When her daughter needed a six-month stay in Auckland Hospital, Jean met Mr Page in person for the first time. He took her around nightclubs looking at the talent playing in the Auckland scene, booking many of them for the Mayfair.
A who's who of 1960s and 70s New Zealand music royalty would play regularly at the Mayfair Hotel, including Craig Scott, Max Cryer, Maria Dallas, John Hore Grenell, Chic Littlewood, Eddie Lowe, Tom Sharplin, Mark Williams, Hogsnort Rupert, Sally Sadler, Bunny Walters, Ray Woolf and Steve Allen. There were overseas artists too – including Millie Small, the Jamaican singer who had a hit with My Boy Lollipop.
In addition to music to provide variety, Jean had fire eaters, fashion contests, ventriloquists, Hawaiian dancers and talent contests performing. She also booked the bands for other venues in Hawke's Bay.
Her favourite artist was Craig Scott, who was "such a nice boy" and she really only had one she disliked, who she'd rather not name.
At her own admission at being rather shy, Jean by the mid-1970s through Night Entertainment was a seasoned music performance booking agent and one of New Zealand's prominent.
Jean had grown so much in confidence she often handled the security of the Carousel Bar when the usual security guard was having difficulties.
"They didn't argue with me," reflected Jean in July 2021. "Even when the Mongrel Mob turned up with their patches on, I'd tell them to go home and change before they could come in.
"The proper security guard was close by, and I'd give him a signal if I needed him, but I never did."
The Shadracks became the main backing band at the Mayfair Hotel after, in Jean's words, "thump, thump, thump" became the dominant music style, rendering her husband's jazzy crooner tunes redundant as the rockier sound emerged.
Mayfair Hotel manager Bill Franssen was having some trouble adapting to the new bands. In one instance, spying one man with his shirt off sporting tattoos, Bill rushed onstage during band practice demanding he cover himself up.
When Bill left the hotel around 1980, Jean also wound down Night Entertainment – society was beginning to change and it was time to leave.
Jean can, however, look back with great pride at all she achieved in just over a decade and was one of the first businesswomen in Hawke's Bay to juggle the demands of a family and business – and do it successfully without any prior experience.
• Michael Fowler (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a contract researcher and commercial business writer of Hawke's Bay history. Follow him on facebook.com/michaelfowlerhistory