Partner takes time to recall

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 16:00 28/08/2012
Terry Procter

Mainland mates: Terry Procter and Kevin Corcoran shoot a cheese commercial at Lake Moke, near Queenstown

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The Mainland cheese ad always said "good things take time" and after a decade of working together on screen, a Picton man will never forget his friend from Cromwell.

Picton resident Terry Procter starred in the cheese company's scenic Kiwi ads for a decade with actor, former farmer and rugby enthusiast Kevin Corcoran, who died, aged 78, in Cromwell on Friday morning.

Talent scouts searched bars and bowling greens between Bluff and Picton to find the perfect southern men, who were beamed into television screens around New Zealand until the ads were discontinued in 2010.

Mr Procter did not go to his friend's funeral yesterday, but went to see him in Cromwell earlier in the month as his health was deteriorating.

"I went and saw him about three weeks ago just to say gidday before he got too sick," he said.

One of his fondest memories was the first ad the men made together in Queenstown after the town was hit by serious flooding in 1999.

The men, who had no previous acting experience, were put up in a hotel and told to wear old shirts, pull on their gumboots, and be in the foyer ready to go at 7.30am.

"But the town was completely flooded: a jetboat went down the main street," Mr Procter said.

"We were told, ‘Listen, you two guys, don't leave the hotel so we know where to find you', so we leaned on the bar for a week and they were paying for it while the weather cleared.

"I can tell hundreds of stories like that one."

The men did not know each other before working on the commercials, but became good friends during their decade of working together at "all those lovely places" in and around Central Otago and Queenstown.

About 40 people were involved in the production of each advertisement; they were usually filmed over five days.

"The amount of preparation that went in to the ads . . . They had to get the clouds right, the scenery had to be perfect. So much went into it; it wasn't just a guy running around with a camera.

"They always put us in the best hotels - we had a ball."

Mainland Cheese was founded in Dunedin in 1955 by Peter McConnon. The factory was bought by Fonterra about a decade ago and much of the work shifted to the North Island, Mr Procter said.

Fonterra continued to employ the men for the advertisements, but the change in management meant they "lost their personal touch" with the actors.

Mr Corcoran is survived by his wife, Betty, 10 children and 16 grandchildren.

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