Ten months after the Napier Daily Telegraph broke new ground and ran photographs in colour, its Hastings counterpart, the Hawke's Bay Herald Tribune, followed suit — and local duck shooter John Lindsay got the nod as the lensman's target.

Although, as he explained with a smile, it was the jacket he was wearing that led to him being lined up for the shot, rather than the three shooting mates he was with that day.

"He saw the colourful jacket so that was that ... he chose me," Lindsay said.

It was the start of May in 1980, the opening day of the duck shooting season, and he and his mates headed for their traditional, and annually fruitful backwash spot off what was known as the Southland Drain.

The clipping John has of that colourful day 39 years ago.
The clipping John has of that colourful day 39 years ago.

They set out for their spots at first light, and later in the morning they saw a man "laden with camera gear" approaching.

He said he was looking to take what would be a historic photo for the Herald Tribune as it would be shot in colour — the first colour photo the paper would run.

As the other lads were wearing darker clothing, Lindsay was asked to step into view.

He squatted down, gun in one had and a duck in the other, while his mate Eric Petersen's labrador Kelly sat next to him.

"I thought nothing more of it," he said.

But a couple of days later he did, he said with a smile.

"Someone rang me and said 'you're all over the paper'."

The photo pretty nearly was as it was published at 26cm by 16cm, so filled a fair slice of the page on May 3, 1980, and the colour made it leap out even more.


"I was a wee bit embarrassed and got a fair bit of ribbing about it."

Lindsay was pretty well known around the Bay through his role in the meat industry, as well as having been the guitarist in a popular local band which played regularly at The Top Hat in Napier, The Contacts.

Some of the clients he dealt with in the meat industry would send in their buying advices to him — along with a clipped copy of that now memorable photo.

"Some would draw glasses on me and stuff like that," he smiled.

"All good fun."

He remembers heading along to the Herald Tribune office and asking if they could do him a copy of the photo and was told they would not be able to sort that "for a while".

Colour production was still very much in its infancy but he was eventually able to "ease it out of them."

The now 74-year-old has a framed copy of the photo showing him as a keen duck shooter in his mid-30s on the wall of his Meeanee home, and on that front, he still heads out when the season starts.

He also has one of the original clippings a mate passed on to him with the smile-inducing caption: "Not a bad looking lab' eh?"