Haydn Sherley, a well-known New Zealand radio personality and broadcaster who lived in Kāpiti for 40 years, has been awarded a posthumous award by the Wellington Jazz Club.

The club is dedicated to the promotion of live jazz in Wellington and presented the award to Mr Sherley's daughter Marion Sherley at Meow in Wellington.

Mr Sherley is just the eighth honorary member of the club, joining the likes of Roger Fox, Colin Hemmingsen and five other New Zealand jazz legends and is the first non-performer made an honorary member for his work in jazz broadcasting.

While Mr Sherley was an able musician himself, it was his work in jazz broadcasting which made his name and earned him this honour.


His playing was more for his personal enjoyment, playing a lot of classical music despite his career being predominantly centred around jazz.

Born in 1924, Mr Sherley joined the air force when World War II broke out, training in navigation and attaining the position of flight lieutenant.

It was during leave at this time that he travelled to New York and upon visiting some nightclubs he encountered jazz greats such as Count Basie that started his love of jazz.

"It's the jazz clubs in New York where he really got a lot of knowledge and that really contributed to his love of jazz," said close friend, fellow broadcaster and jazz enthusiast John Joyce.

Beginning his broadcasting career in 1946 at station 1YA in Auckland, Mr Sherley worked in national and commercial radio and became a household name during a career which spanned over 50 years.

Starting without much formal training in broadcasting, Mr Sherley went on to become a trainer of announcers for the now disestablished New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation.

He tutored announcers such as Paul Holmes, Kevin Black, Dougal Stevenson, Wayne Mowat and Sharon Crosbie.

In 1989 Mr Sherley was awarded a Queen's Service Medal (QSM) for public services for his service to broadcasting.

His death in 2007 moved the then broadcasting minister Steve Maharey to express his sorrow of his passing in a press release giving his "deepest sympathy to his family and loved ones", and acknowledging the work on his jazz programme which ran on Radio New Zealand National for more than 30 years.

At Meow, the club celebrated his career by presenting a selection of Mr Sherley's favourite tunes performed by The Paul Dyne Septet with commentary by Nick Tipping, written by John Joyce emulating a radio broadcast.

"He was one of the top announcers of our country" said Mr Joyce, who has also received a Wellington Jazz Club honorary award.

"With around 100 people showing up for the presentation and gig it was pretty well bursting at the seams.

"He had the perfect voice for radio and was also a great humanitarian."