Cartoonist recorded Kiwi identity

David Henshaw's drawings brought pleasure to "a great number of people", says one of his fellow famous five Manawatu cartoonists.

Henshaw, known for his "Jock" cartoons depicting rural life, died on Sunday aged 74.

Born and raised in Manawatu, Henshaw attended Palmerston North Boys' High School at the same time as Garrick Tremain.

The pair became known, along with Tom Scott, Malcolm Evans and Murray Ball, as the famous five, a group of cartoonists who were either born in Manawatu or grew up in the region.

Tremain said he was a couple of years behind Henshaw at school but the pair became friends when they were asked to decorate the school hall for dances and other events.

"We were both recognised as having some talent for art and drawing," Tremain said. "Whenever there was a school dance or some occasion and the hall needed decorating, we were given paper and paint."

After high school as each man became known for their drawing, the pair stayed in touch and last met when four members of the famous five returned to Palmerston North in 2011 for an exhibition of rugby cartoons.

"He was a talented guy," Tremain said. "He had a great sense of humour and he brought a great deal of pleasure to a great number of people through his work."

More than just being funny, the rural cartoons recorded a part of New Zealand's identity.

Henshaw grew up on a Kimbolton farm before his career as a farm valuer took him around New Zealand. He eventually settled in Tamahere, near Hamilton.

His Jock cartoons appeared in the New Zealand Farmer newspaper for 34 years and on calendars for the past 17 years.

In 2011, Henshaw became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services as a cartoonist.

The citation noted his cartoons had contributed to a better understanding between New Zealand's rural and urban communities, particularly among children.

"His cartoons are a record of the agricultural and social history of New Zealand during the last 40 years," the citation said.

He also published a number of books both on his own, and with co-authors.

Henshaw is survived by his four children and 10 grandchildren.

Manawatu Standard