An entertaining entrepreneur

Thespian, entrepreneur, entertainer, and friend. These are just a few words that describe celebrated
Christchurch actor Peter Rowley. Metropol’s Kia Dirkson caught up with him to see what is the next phase for one of the country’s most enduring comedians.

On a bright summer afternoon, a warm smile greeted me at the door. The charming face of Peter Rowley is unmistakable. Bright eyes beaming from behind his glasses welcomed me into his Merivale home. Within that smile is the deeply rich history Peter has with the South Island.

Hailing originally from Timaru, he moved to Christchurch, attended Christ’s College and spent his professional career entertaining audiences both in New Zealand and around the world.

Once considered the Kiwi satirical series staple, delighting households all over Aotearoa in the 1980s, his list of credentials is admirable. McPhail and Gadsby, The Billy T. James Show, Letter to Blanchy, Power Rangers and Footrot Flats: A Dog’s Tale, just to name a few.

“Jon Gadsby, David McPhail and Billy T. James – these were my dear friends. We were creating something brilliant for New Zealand and having the time of our lives together,” he reminisces.

He is pictured above right with Billy T. James, on a trip to Texas, visiting the mansion from the American television show Dallas.

“We did a lot of great things together, Billy and I,” he reflects.

Billy’s tragic, early passing in 1991, aged 42, took a toll on Peter emotionally, and he often reflects on their history. “I learnt so much from him about the business over the years that we worked together. I still miss my friend every day.”

A life-changing event occurred in 1977 when the late Jon Gadbsy cast him on A Week of It and realised that acting was his true passion. Since then, Peter has never looked back and he fervently thanks Gadsby for that pivotal moment.

Over the decades, Peter was presented with numerous business opportunities that helped him grow, learn and develop a successful entrepreneurial attitude.

Having once dabbled in the spirit business, then specialising in vodka, Peter has now turned his talents to being part of the rising tide of gin. More popular than ever, New Zealand now boasts a multi-billion-dollar liquor industry that is increasing each year, and gin is at the forefront.

Peter and his brother now produce their own label. Their point of difference is simple. “Our gin is pure, clean, no additives and not overloaded with botanicals making it easy to drink straight and for mixologists to create bespoke cocktails for customers.”

Not missing a moment life has to offer, Peter has adopted a grassroots approach and is now touring the country with Laughing Club Gin, stopping in-person at local bars, restaurants and venues to introduce them to his personal tipple. Cheers.

Previous Post

On and off the stage

Next Post

Colouring our world

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *