Peter Hawes

Peter Hawes 1947 - 2018

Peter made a significant contribution to New Zealand playwriting in the 1980s and achieved productions of his works in all the cities which supported professional theatre companies at that time. He worked in the NZBC-TV Christchurch studios as a news researcher and scriptwriter for such programmes as A Week Of It and Hawes for the Asking. Other television included More Animals for the Asking, The Muppets NZ and Peppermint Twist. He was Associate Director of the documentary film, The Neglected Miracle (1985) and scriptwriter on the film Te Rua (1989).

He wrote Alf’s General Theory of Relativity and Ptolemy’s Dip for The Court Theatre, and in 1983 Mercury Theatre staged Armageddon Revisited. These comedies drew comparisons from critics with the works of Tom Stoppard and the Absurdist playwrights.

When Playwright in Residence at Downstage Theatre in 1986, Peter embarked on a series of plays centred on figures from New Zealand history, the painter Charles Goldie (Goldie), broadcaster Daisy Basham (Aunt Daisy!) and atomic physicist Ernest Rutherford (A Higher From of Killing). 1946: The Boat Train was commissioned by Centrepoint Theatre but was premiered by the Canterbury Arts Network in Christchurch in 1991. The One After the Last Goon Show, was staged at the Globe Theatre in 2007 and The Gods of Warm Beer premiered at Centrepoint in 2008.

Peter is one of the few New Zealand dramatists who have prepared a translation of a foreign language drama for a production in a local theatre.

He wrote the novels, Tasman’s Lay (1995), Leapfrog with Unicorns (1996), Playing Waterloo (1998), Inca Girls Aren’t Easy (1999 as W. P. Hearst), The Dream of Nikau Jam (2000), Royce Royce the People’s Choice (2002) and Pigeon Post (2010).

Peter passed away on 29 October 2018.