Bruce Mason

Bruce Mason 1921 - 1982

Bruce Mason was born in Wellington in 1921 and educated at Takapuna Grammar School, Wellington Boys College and Victoria University - graduating with a BA in 1945.

From 1941-45 he was on active service, gaining a commission in the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1944. During this period he served on the Murmansk convoys and was also involved with the invasion of Europe. In 1945 he married Diana Manby Shaw (2d, 1s).

He was research assistant for the War History Branch 1946-48 and assistant curator of manuscripts at the Alexander Turnbull Library 1948-49. Following travel to Europe, he became Public Relations Officer for the New Zealand Forest Service, 1951-57. He served as radio,record and music critic for the NZ Listener and was drama critic for the Dominion 1958-60 and again in 1973-80. From 1980 he transferred to the Evening Post.

In 1960-61 Bruce was Editor of Te Ao Hou for the Department of Maori Affairs and from 1967-70 edited the theatre magazine Act. Actively involved in all aspects of New Zealand literature Bruce was a founder and president of the NZ branch of PEN and from 1948-60 was variously president, secretary and committee member of Wellington's Unity Theatre. In 1963 he toured Eastern Europe, was New Zealand Delegate to the International Drama Conference in Edinburgh and performed The End of the Golden Weather at that years Edinburgh Festival. His play The Pohutukawa Tree was produced by BBC Television in 1959.

A full time writer, actor and director, Bruce gave over 1,000 solo performances of The End of the Golden Weather. In 1977 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature by Victoria University, a QE II Arts Council Fellowship and, in 1980, the CBE.

He died at the end of 1982 shortly after completing three plays for television, which were broadcast by TVNZ in 1983.