08 Dec 2016
It is with sadness that Creative New Zealand acknowledges the passing of Ray Columbus OBE on Tuesday 29 November 2016. He was 74.
A member of the QEII Arts Council of New Zealand from 1977-1983, Ray Columbus did much to raise the status of contemporary arts.
Ray Columbus was the first New Zealander to record an international number one single. He also created a dance move known as the Mod Nod and mentored a host of successful kiwi entertainers.
Long-time friend of Ray Columbus, Chicks singer Suzanne Lynch told the Stuff news site "He was ahead of everyone else with what he was doing. Ray raised the bar for New Zealand music.” She cited Ray Columbus as a phenomenal influence on the New Zealand music industry as an artist who was always supportive of other upcoming artists.
Ray Columbus is most renowned for his hit She's A Mod, which was released in 1964 with band the Invaders and has been remade several times.
Always a respected player in the Kiwi music industry, Ray Columbus received many major awards and played support gigs to the Rolling Stones, the Animals, Roy Orbison, Shirley Bassey and the Hollies before moving into a career in management and television.
He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1974 for his long and diverse career and was the first pop star in the Commonwealth to receive the honour.
Tributes and history
Stuff: Ray Columbus has died at 74
NZ History: She's a Mod
Audio Culture: Ray Columbus and The Invaders
Radio New Zealand: Ray Columbus star of the beat group era
New Zealand Herald: Kiwi music legend Ray Columbus dies 1942-2016
Newstalk ZB: Ray Columbus unparalleled - Frankie Stevens