Cover girl’s brush with stardom

Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services
The cover of the first New Zealand Kiwifruit Journal from May, 1984.

It’s an instant classic – a cute little blonde kid caught munching a kiwifruit, cheekily grinning at the camera.

In reality, the first-ever Kiwifruit Journal cover in May 1984 featured a 5-year-old with a sore throat, surrounded by an astonishing mix of New Zealand creative talent.

These days, ‘Angie McGregor’ is 40, with a few silver streaks in her now-brown hair and a sensitive job that’s meant we’ve changed her name for this story.

She was more than happy, however, to chat about the 1983 photoshoot – one that turned out to be the high-point of her modelling career – once we had tracked her down through the power of social media.

“I’d had my tonsils out earlier in the week so only ate one spoonful of kiwifruit during the whole shoot,” ‘Angie’ laughed. “I was also paid the massive sum of $40 for the day – but that was pretty amazing for a 5-year-old, considering how many lollies came in a 20c bag back then!”

The shoot was part of a worldwide campaign entitled ”All the world loves New Zealand Kiwifruit”, produced by MacHarman Advertising for the New Zealand Kiwifruit Authority.

MacHarman Advertising was led for 30 years by Bob Harvey – now Sir Bob – who made his name as a legend of the 1980s advertising world, became an influential political strategist and was a long-serving mayor of Waitakere City.

The photographer Sir Bob used for that kiwifruit shoot was Roger Donaldson, future blockbusting Hollywood director of films such as ‘Cocktail’, ‘Dante’s Peak’ and ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’.

And completing the illustrious lineup was the art director, Dick Frizzell, who has gone on to become one of New Zealand’s most important artists and the creator of the iconic ‘Four Square Man’ print and the ‘Mickey to Tiki‘ lithograph.

“Roger had a studio in Parnell and Dick spent a lot of years in advertising – it was a bit of an all-star cast and it was a really classy campaign to be part of,” Sir Bob explained. “We had accounts with the New Zealand Meat Board, Watties and Bluebird chips, among others, and I think it was our food connections which got us the job.”

It proved to be one of Donaldson’s final advertising jobs; after directing earlier Kiwi hits like Sleeping Dogs (1977) and Smash Palace (1981), he was soon working on his break-through international film The Bounty, which starred Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins. Ironically, The Bounty was released on May 4, 1984 – the same week the very first Kiwifruit Journal hit letterboxes.

While there was plenty of glamour on the creative side of the kiwifruit photoshoot, the modelling resources came from a little closer to home. Two of Sir Bob’s own children, Rupert and Tessa, made the cut, while a number of other staff members provided their progeny.

“I was selected because I was blonde and had all of my teeth – plus my mum was friends with Bob Harvey’s assistant!” ‘Angie’ adds.

She also concedes there was a bit of fame at the time: “I believe the posters were also used at Kiwifruit Country on one of the rides, as my best friend made her family go on the ride with my picture on it.”

While Sir Bob still has all the proofs from that shoot tucked away at home, ‘Angie’ also has a lasting reminder; another photo-card from that same shoot, hanging on her wall.

“Even today, it’s still a great talking piece.”

Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services
The cover of this month’s 250th Kiwifruit Journal, featuring Paengaroa’s Penny Lyford.


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