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‘An amazing jaw-dropping surprise’

CAPTION: Mark Hadlow with wife Jane at their Martinborough home PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

Veteran actor among locals honored


By Hayley Gastmeier

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For a man who has spent most of his life in the spotlight, Mark Hadlow much prefers to talk about others.

During an hour-long interview at his modern Martinborough home last week, Mr Hadlow spoke of at least 50 people – actors, writers, directors, producers – who had both inspired and contributed to his own successful acting career of 39 years.

“It was a team effort,” he said.

“I just got singled out.”

Yesterday, Mr Hadlow had been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the arts.

“I’m chuffed, I’m stoked, but you know what? I didn’t get this award on my own.”

The actor and comedian is probably best known internationally for his roles as Dori, a dwarf in The Hobbit trilogy, and Harry, from the 2005 film King Kong.

Sitting with his wife Jane, Mr Hadlow explained that the award came as “an absolute jaw dropping surprise”.

“I’m so humbled and I feel so honoured to be acknowledged.”

But credit for the honour was owed to the many “wonderful” characters he had crossed paths with — starting with Raymond Hawthorne, the director of Theatre Corporate, from which he graduated in 1978.

Since then, Mr Hadlow has performed in more than 130 theatre productions across a range of genres and roles, and has won numerous prestigious awards, including for his critically acclaimed one man show S.N.A.G, as well as for his radio work as a voice-over artist.

He has been involved in charity work with Christchurch City Mission, Multiple Sclerosis and prostate cancer, and raised funds for the Martinborough Town Hall with his one man show MAMIL (middle-aged man in lycra).

As well as staring in Peter Jackson blockbusters, he has worked with independent New Zealand filmmakers on feature length and short films since the 1980s.

His television credits include the Billy T. James Show and Willy Nilly.

Dame Kate Harcourt, John Clarke, Roger Hall, Cliff Curtis, and Niki Caro are just a handful of the other Kiwis Mr Hadlow holds in high regard.

“And then there’s the audience, who have always told me when they have enjoyed something, and told me when they haven’t.”

Some of his fondest moments and career highlights include singing at Gallipoli in 2013, being amongst thousands of Tolkien fans in Germany, and giving a royal birthday present at the Weta Cave, in Wellington.

“I was dressed as Dori, and I pledged my sword, my allegiance and my life to Prince Charles . . . I said, ‘Your royal highness, I pledge my sword, my life and my allegiance to you on behalf of Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor. I am yours to do what you will’.”

Putting on a perfect British accent, Mr Hadlow said Prince Charles responded with, “Oh my goodness, this is the best birthday present I ever had”.

Mr and Mrs Hadlow moved to Martinborough five years ago from Christchurch following the large earthquakes.

“We love living here,” they said,

The couple, who have three adult children between them, enjoyed the community spirit within the township.

Mr Hadlow said on occasion he played golf with Sir William Southgate, former conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Now that he had an ONZM, Mr Hadlow joked he might be allowed to carry Sir William’s golf bag.


  1. Well done Mark, you have come do far since the Flanagans hotel bottle shop days.. thats the last time we met.. glad life has been good for you and your career has moved in giant leaps and bounds. Well at least I can say I cooked your schnitzels!
    Take care old freind.. edwin palmer

  2. Well done Mark … very proud of what you have achieved .I have enjoyed watching you in the different characters you have taken part of but now I have the privedge of enjoying you as a person .With having your lovely wife Jane as our manager of Soeur Design I get to see the personal side as well . Great photo , amazing achievement.

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