* Cherry Raymond, QSO, broadcaster, columnist, community worker. Died aged 80.

Public television arrived in New Zealand in 1961. It was staffed by people already working in radio at the time.

As they were public servants they received no extra money for the change in medium.

One of those pioneer television personalities was Cherry Raymond.

She was not an autocue reader nor, as she put it at her retirement, a bimbette. For one thing, she wore glasses. For another, she was a polished and penetrating interviewer.

In 1967 Raymond spent three weeks in Australia talking to expatriate New Zealanders who had succeeded in their fields, and then came home to make a series of 12 television interviews for the Close Up news programme.

Her subjects included showbiz entrepreneur Harry M. Miller, economist Sir Douglas Copland, and night club entertainer Ricky May.

Her interviewing technique had been developed during seven years as presenter of the women's magazine programme Feminine Viewpoint on radio station 1YA. The move to television coincided with an offer for a regular column for the New Zealand Woman's Weekly, an arrangement that was to last 10 years.

Raymond relished the chance to air her strongly held feminist views.

"I enjoyed having a platform," she said in an interview in 1989. "I had full autonomy at the Weekly and could write about issues that I felt something should be done about.

"I wrote the first liberal article on abortion and the first on the menopause."

Raymond's brand of feminism was based on her belief that you cannot stereotype people by gender. Part of it was a backlash at newspaper articles of the day which began, 'Two people and a woman ... ', and descriptions such as, 'Artist Penny Smith, who in real life is Mrs Tom Brown ... '

She was concerned about the increase in violence towards women and homosexuals, but felt part of the solution was that women should be more careful.

It was not a view supported by radical feminists of the time.

Raymond used reason and thoughtful logic rather than force to try to persuade others to her point of view.

In 1977 she took on a new challenge. A telethon, a television fundraiser, was suggested as a starting point for a national organisation to support those with mental health difficulties. Raymond was part of the organising committee and then became its public affairs officer and information officer.

By 1980 the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation was well-established, so Raymond moved to Melbourne to help set up the same sort of structure in Australia.

Homesickness prevailed, and she returned to Auckland.

In the mid-80s she was struck by a rare nerve disease, which left her in turn blind, deaf, partially mute and unable to swallow. During her illness, her husband, broadcaster Jack Metcalf, died, in 1985.

By chance Raymond heard of a new drug which, though toxic, was effective. Within a month of starting treatment, she began to improve.

Throughout the years of sickness, Raymond was supported by her friends and colleagues in Zonta, a service club for women.