Veteran broadcaster Roger Gascoigne has been honoured for a "rollercoaster" career he insists is simply about having fun.

The Wellington-based television and radio personality has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Years Honours for his more than 40 years of service to the media.

Gascoigne delighted audiences as the host of a range of shows throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including Today Tonight and music show Ready to Roll.

But he is most proud of founding Wellington radio station Radio Windy in 1973 and hosting a series of telethon fundraisers.


The telethon shows were an opportunity to give back to the community but were also "enormous fun", he said.

"Those early telethons were quite insane because we literally did do the whole 24 hours, which led to some pretty manic moments. It was a delight to be part of that," he told APNZ.

Gascoigne said he was "stunned and amazed" to receive the honour, which had come right out of the blue.

"You get a letter from the Prime Minister that says it's an opportunity for the public to salute your efforts, and you think 'gosh, efforts? I was just having fun'.

"But when you reflect on it a little bit more, you put a lot of yourself out there, and obviously it meant a lot to some people. It really did affect them, influence them, delight them."

Gascoigne didn't know who nominated him for the honour, but said he was unlikely to open a can of worms by offering to take them out for dinner.

"If you do, for the next 10 years people will be coming up to you and saying 'that was me'."

Gascoigne said his broadcasting career had been a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but he had lived the dream and squeezed a lot in.


After saying goodbye to television, he went on to work in public affairs, marketing and relationship management, including a stint as a senior marketing manager at TelstraClear.

He is still involved in broadcasting as a hobby, including guest slots on Radio New Zealand, which he describes as "a bit of pocket money and good fun".

He now works as a tour guide and host at Te Papa, a job he said was "the best fun of my life".