Journalist and broadcaster.

Dylan Taite was a unique figure in New Zealand broadcasting. Unusually for someone in television, he neither courted nor co-operated with glossy magazines and gossip columnists.

He maintained an almost wilfully downbeat appearance, even on screen, and his idiosyncratic monologues owed much to the free association of the Beat poets. He was, for a television personality, very un-television and never considered himself a personality.

It is Taite's interviews which will be remembered. Not the occasions at the airport when he would bail up the unsuspecting and often unco-operative as they made for the limo, but his lengthy interview with Bob Marley and a tetchy encounter with Lou Reed.


The Marley interview was extraordinary and came after Taite - a lifelong soccer fanatic and Everton fan - had spent days playing the game with Marley and his musicians.

The friendship led to the interview, during which Marley sat down and spoke at great length about his Rastafarian beliefs. Taite would later note that there are very few interviews with Marley seated.

So comprehensive was it that segments appeared in the Marley biographical film Time Will Tell.

The encounter with Reed - in a chemist shop - was equally memorable but for very different reasons, Taite neatly rebuffing every insult and belligerent remark. When Reed suggested Taite knew nothing about music he was on very thin ice. Taite was steeped in it.

In the early 1960s Liverpudlian Taite was the drummer in the band the Merseymen, which played at Auckland's Beatle Inn owned by the late Phil Warren. The Merseymen had a brief career but it fed Taite's love of music.

His first job in journalism was as a proof reader at the Waikato Times. He moved from there to a Hamilton radio station, and then to Television New Zealand in 1970.

Unlike many in the media, Taite knew that stardom was not contagious. His job was to interview people and that was it. He rarely hung out with musicians and was quite unaffected by his encounters with the glitterati.

His unusual entertainment spots in TV3's late news - filmed in an elevator by a constantly moving camera - were often illuminating yet bewildering, and it was to the credit of television bosses that they persisted with them.

His sign off, "See ya, wouldn't want to be ya", entered the language.

His sometimes distracted manner and casual appearance belied a keen intelligence, a sharp dry wit, and a caring nature.

Most recently Taite worked as a producer for TV One current affairs show Sunday. His last interview, with musician Moby, will screen on the programme tomorrow.

He is survived by his wife Jacqueline and sons John, Stephen and Paul.

- Staff reporters