59 | Aunt Daisy Greatest Kiwi of All Time 2023
GKOAT 23
GKOAT 23

59 | Aunt Daisy Greatest Kiwi of All Time 2023

Greatest Kiwi Of All Time: No. 59 - Aunt Daisy (Maintained her spot at 59 from last year)

1931, the studios of private radio station 2YA in Wellington. 52-year-old announcer Maud Basham is waiting outside the station manager’s office.  Maud has been in radio for a decade, but her job at 2YA has been her first proper job in broadcasting.  Radio is still in its infancy in New Zealand, but it’s becoming increasingly popular and powerful.  Maybe too powerful - Maud’s heard a rumour the Government wants to nationalise the whole industry.

Maud Basham - or Aunt Daisy - would be fired that day.  The Government took over 2YA and public service rules decreed only one woman could work there.  She would move to Wanganui and other private stations around the country over the next few years.

Then, in 1933, Aunt Daisy started work at 1ZB in Auckland under kiwi broadcast pioneer Colin Scrimageour - Uncle Scrim.  Scrim had her host a 30-minute morning show giving recommendations on sponsor’s products alongside tips and anecdotes to her largely female audience.  The show was immensely popular.   Aunt Daisy built a real connection with her listener’s and they would often try - or buy - whatever she suggested.

Later in the 1930s, her programme would broadcast nationwide.  Aunt Daisy was an incredibly fast talker, averaging 202 words a minute, and would open each session with her iconic greeting “Good morning everybody”.

When war broke out, the Government sent Aunt Daisy to visit women stationed at military bases overseas so she could talk about them on her radio show.  She was invited to tea with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  Her American tour would be turned into a book - “Aunt Daisy and Uncle Sam”.

The recipe book “The Aunt Daisy Cookbook with Household Hints” was also a best seller.  It ran to many editions and 22 reprints, the most recent in 2010, almost 50 years after Aunt Daisy’s death.

Probably our first broadcasting superstar, Aunt Daisy would die in 1963 at the age of 83.  She would present her programme until just a few days before her death.  

Aunt Daisy, a radio pioneer, and one of Today FM’s Greatest Kiwis of All Time.