Veteran broadcaster Roger Gascoigne at home in Te Papa's Gallipoli exhibition video

MAARTEN HOLL/STUFF

Former TV personality Roger Gascoigne to take tours through Te Papa's Gallipoli exhibit.

Nearing 70, Roger Gascoigne​ still gets a twinkle in his eye when he talks about ushering visitors into Te Papa.

After decades spent entertaining audiences on TV screens and over the airwaves, the man best known for his cheeky wink has been inconspicuously charming guests as a tour guide at the national museum for the past 11 years.

The museum is about to launch a series of free information tours called: Inside Gallipoli: Talks, Tours, and Teas, from August 21 to September 1, with Gascoigne at the helm as a host.

Former TVNZ personality Roger Gascoigne is keen to welcome another 1.5 million guests to Te Papa's Gallipoli: The Scale ...
MAARTEN HOLL/STUFF

Former TVNZ personality Roger Gascoigne is keen to welcome another 1.5 million guests to Te Papa's Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War exhibition.

The tours will delve deeper into Te Papa's most popular exhibition - Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War, which surpassed 1.5 million visitors earlier this month.

READ MORE:
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Gascoigne recalls boyhood in Blenheim
Gascoigne 'chuffed' at Beatles moment in front of his hero
Gallipoli story told in massive scale at Te Papa

Gascoigne was the original presenter of the television show Ready to Roll as well as host of the 1984 Olympics, Miss New Zealand, telethons and game shows.

A TVNZ handout picture of Roger Gascoigne as a promotion of an upcoming show, Symphonic Pop with the NZ Symphony ...
TVNZ

A TVNZ handout picture of Roger Gascoigne as a promotion of an upcoming show, Symphonic Pop with the NZ Symphony Orchestra, in March 1983.

As the signoff host for TV1, Gascoigne would end the broadcast with his signature wink, which he admitted to picking up from someone across the ditch. 

"A weather girl named Trina in Perth – she was on Channel 7 where I worked. She just had this gorgeous affectation, if you like, which was to wink at the audience.

"When I came back to New Zealand [1974] and got invited to go on television I thought, 'oh, I'll steal that'. It took off."

Former governor general Sir Jerry Mateparae makes Roger Gascoigne a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to ...
CHRIS SKELTON/STUFF

Former governor general Sir Jerry Mateparae makes Roger Gascoigne a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to broadcasting in 2012.

People loved it, because they felt it was directed at them, he said.

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"And the night I didn't do it, it was a national crisis sort of thing. That sounds so ridiculous, but it's true."

By the late 1980s, a lot of TV production was shifting from Wellington to Auckland, but Gascoigne and his wife wanted to stay put.

Dutch visitor Antoinette Sneeboer looking at the Lieutenant Spencer Wesmacott display at Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War ...
ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF

Dutch visitor Antoinette Sneeboer looking at the Lieutenant Spencer Wesmacott display at Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War exhibition. [FILE PHOTO]

The Paremata-then-Whitby resident found himself in his late 50s, asking: "Why the hell am I doing this to myself?"

"A lot of people at pre-retirement age, really just need time out and a step back from high pressure careers.

"I was a peculiar problem in the fact that I was Roger Gascoigne. You had to go overseas to go on holidays.

"You couldn't go on holiday around New Zealand because you'd just get mobbed, and pestered and it was horrible.

"Ultimately you're going to wind up with a career where you can be as famous or as anonymous as you want to be. And that's here. It's perfect.

"I can be standing in the middle of the meet-and-greeter position down there on the front door and unless I speak, nobody knows – all drifting past."

He doesn't get recognised so much anymore, especially when he's telling people about key events and details around Gallipoli campaign, or helping them learn how Weta Workshop's cutting-edge technology was used to create the interactive experiences that bring this story to life. 

"Then they hear my voice and they go, 'oh, you're Mark Leishman', or some bastard from back then."

 - Stuff

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