Tim Shadbolt

Sir Timothy Richard Shadbolt KNZM JP (born 19 February 1947) is a New Zealand politician. He is the Mayor of Invercargill and was previously Mayor of Waitemata City.

Sir Tim Shadbolt

Tim Shadbolt KNZM (cropped).jpg
Shadbolt in 2019
42nd Mayor of Invercargill
Assumed office
Preceded byDavid Harrington
In office
Preceded byEve Poole
Succeeded byDavid Harrington
35th Mayor of Waitemata City
In office
Preceded byTony Covic
Personal details
Born (1947-02-19) 19 February 1947 (age 74)
Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand
Political partyIndependent
Other political
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis (late 1990s)
New Zealand First (mid 1990s)
Miriam Cameron
(m. 1976; div. 1992)
Domestic partnerAsha Dutt
RelationsMaurice Shadbolt (cousin)
Children4 [1]

Early lifeEdit

Shadbolt was born in the Auckland suburb of Remuera in 1947. His father died in a flying accident in 1952. He was on the school council and appointed prefect.[2]

Activist: 1960s and 1970sEdit

Shadbolt became a founding student of Rutherford College, Auckland, and attended the University of Auckland from 1966 to 1970, taking a year off in 1967 to work on the Manapouri Power Project in Southland. He was a member of the Auckland University Students Association executive, and editor of Craccum in 1972. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, he became prominent in the Progressive Youth Movement, a radical left-wing organisation, and was arrested 33 times during political protests,[3] most famously for using the word "bullshit"; this incident influenced the title of his 1971 autobiography Bullshit & Jellybeans.

After 1970, he founded a commune and concrete cooperative at Huia.

Local politician: 1980s–presentEdit


Shadbolt claims he stood for Mayor of Waitemata City in 1983 because he did not want to see the incumbent Tony Covic re-elected unopposed. He won the election. He famously celebrated, much to some people's disgust, by towing his concrete mixer (named "Karl Marx"[4]) behind the mayoral Daimler in the 1983 Henderson Christmas parade.[5][6] He won again in 1986 heading a political ticket called "Tim's Team", but in 1989 lost the following mayoral election in the newly formed Waitakere city (an enlarged Waitemata city) to Assid Corban.[7] During his term as mayor he became infamous by twice losing the mayoral chains.[8]

He stood in the electorate of West Auckland (which incorporated Waitemata) at the 1990 New Zealand general election as an independent. He placed fifth with 3.06 per cent of the vote.[9] Later that year, he unsuccessfully stood in a by-election for Mayor of Auckland City, polling a distant eighth place.[10] Two years later he stood again for Mayor of Auckland City and also for Mayor of Dunedin, where he finished third place in both elections but performed marginally better in Dunedin.[11][12] Later that year, he stood in the Wellington Central by-election as an independent candidate, polling less than half a percentage point.[13]


In 1993, Shadbolt ran successfully for the position of Mayor of Invercargill. In 1994, he contested the Selwyn by-election as a candidate for New Zealand First, but was placed fourth, and remained Mayor of Invercargill.[3] He was defeated in 1995. In the 1996 general election he stood unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.[3]

In 1998, Shadbolt was re-elected to the mayoralty and has remained the mayor ever since. In 2001 he was re-elected unopposed.

In October 2002, Shadbolt told a conference of New Zealand's Disabled Persons Assembly that Invercargill had "an innovative approach to public transport, currently centred on 'Freebie the Bus' travelling the 'Purple Circle'". He said he hoped that in future all buses in Invercargill would be free and accessible.[14] (The Freebie and Purple Circle are zero-fare bus routes in Invercargill.)

In 2004 and 2007, Shadbolt won his fourth and fifth mayoral terms by huge margins. In 2010, he won his sixth Invercargill mayoral election. Shadbolt received 16,466 votes over mayoral candidates Suzanne Prentice (5,361 votes) and Carl Heenan (682 votes).[15] On 8 October 2016 he again won re-election as Invercargill's mayor. He said this was his toughest campaign yet. "I’ve had two candidates both going flat-out and it was a tough election", he said. "In the past I’ve had either no contenders, but this time I had a television producer and a sitting councillor who had also been an investigative journalist, so it was pretty tough opposition."[16]

Shadbolt was returned for another term in 2019.[17] In November 2020, however, an independent review of the Invercargill City Council commissioned by the Department of Internal Affairs raised concerns about the council's performance, and in particular said Shadbolt was "struggling to fulfil significant aspects of his job", and as a result there is a leadership void at the council. Shadbolt rubbished the report, saying it is flawed and he has been singled out as a scapegoat.[18]

Shadbolt is New Zealand's second longest-serving mayor, after George Perry who was mayor of Hokitika for 31 years.[19]

Outside politicsEdit

He has presented several television documentaries, and the series That's Fairly Interesting.

In the 1990s he appeared in an advertisement promoting New Zealand cheese, where he humorously repeated the phrase "I don't care where as long as I'm mayor", referencing his dual mayoralties.[20] He admitted later that the phrase was developed by an advertising agency.[8]

In 2001, he appeared as a contestant on a celebrity special of The Weakest Link.[21]

In 2005, New Zealand Toastmasters awarded him the Communicator of the Year award.[2] He also played in the movie The World's Fastest Indian, portraying a good friend of Burt Munro who organised social events for Invercargill's motorcycling community.[2]

He also participated in the New Zealand version of Dancing with the Stars where he placed 3rd.[8] In 2006 Shadbolt played the part of the Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show by the Invercargill Musical Theatre. He continued his theatre experiences by appearing in 2007 in the Invercargill Musical Theatres production of Sea Cruise.

In 2010, Shadbolt appeared on the comedy gameshow 7 Days as the guest participant in the round Yes, Minister.[22]

In 2012, Shadbolt set the Guinness World Record for the longest television interview. He was interviewed for 26 consecutive hours by interviewer Tom Conroy. In doing so the pair also set the record for the longest single event in New Zealand television history.[23] Shadbolt later said he would have liked to keep going.[24] The record was broken in 2013 by Norwegian novelist Hans Olav Lahlum.[25]

Personal lifeEdit

Shadbolt has one son from an early marriage. He met his second wife, Miriam Cameron, in 1970. They have two sons. Cameron left Shadbolt in 1989 after alleged repeated domestic violence. They divorced three years later.[2][26] Shadbolt's current partner is lawyer Asha Dutt and they have one son.[8][27]

Shadbolt was hospitalised for two weeks in April 2006 after rolling the mayoral car near Winton while returning from a work trip to Queenstown. He suffered three broken vertebrae, a bruised lung, and damage to his kidneys. His two passengers were uninjured. He was charged with careless driving and could have faced a maximum fine of $3000, however he was instead discharged and ordered to pay $300 each to St John New Zealand and the Winton volunteer fire brigade.[28][29]

He was knighted in the 2019 New Year Honours List as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (KNZM).[30]

In June 2021, Shadbolt revealed that he had been diagnosed with muscle tension dysphonia.[31]


  1. ^ Meng-Yee, Carolyne (17 June 2012). "Shadbolt a dad again at 65". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Cook, Stephen (12 November 2006). "Shadbolt bashed me, says ex-wife". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  3. ^ a b c McNeilly, Hamish (4 October 2008). "Tinny Tim". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  4. ^ "Karl Marx and Daimler receive rousing reception". Western Leader. 1 December 1983. p. 1. Description: Tim Shadbolt drove the Waitemata City mayoral Daimler towing his concrete mixer named 'Karl Marx' in the 1983 Henderson Christmas Parade.
  5. ^ "Designworks Visionary Leader – Tim Shadbolt" (PDF). January 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 October 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013. He stood for mayor of Waitemata City in 1983 and won. He celebrated by towing his trusty concrete mixer behind the mayoral car.
  6. ^ Bidois, Ngahi (17 August 2011). "Ngahi Bidois: Lessons from Tim Shadbolt". Rotorua Daily Post. Retrieved 27 December 2013. [...] my recollections of him were his 'incident' where he towed the concrete mixer with the mayoral car [...]
  7. ^ Bob Harvey (29 September 2010). "Report of the Mayor" (PDF). Waitakere City Council. p. 4. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  8. ^ a b c d McNeilly, Hamish (4 October 2008). "Tinny Tim". New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 23 February 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  9. ^ Part 1: Votes recorded at each polling place (Technical report). New Zealand Chief Electoral Office. 1990.
  10. ^ Graham, Jill (10 December 1990). "Mayor on the road back to basics". The New Zealand Herald. p. 1.
  11. ^ "Where the votes went in the local polls". The New Zealand Herald. 12 October 1992. p. 8.
  12. ^ "Mayoralties". Otago Daily Times. 12 October 1989. p. 22.
  13. ^ "By-election Special". The Evening Post. 14 December 1992. pp. 23–24.
  14. ^ "December 2002 and January 2003". Bites. DPA. 2003. Archived from the original on 11 April 2003.
  15. ^ "Tim Shadbolt wins sixth term". Invercargill City Council. 9 October 2010. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010.
  16. ^ "As it happened: 2016 Local Body Elections - Who won in your town?". NZ Herald. 8 October 2016.
  17. ^ Fallow, Michael (12 October 2019). "Sir Tim rides again - elected for another term as mayor". Stuff.
  18. ^ "Invercargill councillor disappointed to hear mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt rubbish review of council". Radio New Zealand. 24 November 2020. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Mr. George Albert Perry". paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  20. ^ Roy, Heather (8 October 2010). "Heather Roy's Diary : Local Body Elections". ACT Party. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  21. ^ Tim a little red-faced after Weakest Link blue[permanent dead link] (subscription required)
  22. ^ Crayton-Brown, Kimberley (25 February 2011). "Comedians 'riff' about all things Kiwi". The Southland Times. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
  23. ^ "Invercargill's mayor sets world record". Yahoo! New Zealand. Archived from the original on 30 April 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  24. ^ "Record-holder Shadbolt wanted to keep going". 3 News NZ. 29 April 2012.
  25. ^ "Norway crime novelist talks his way to live interview record". Reuters. 23 May 2013.
  26. ^ "Shadbolt claims he bedded Kedgley". Television New Zealand. 5 October 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2009.
  27. ^ Meng-Yee, Carolyne (17 June 2012). "Shadbolt a dad again at 65". The New Zealand Herald.
  28. ^ "Tim Shadbolt recovering in hospital after car accident". The New Zealand Herald. 4 April 2006.
  29. ^ "Crash costs Shadbolt $600". The New Zealand Herald. 29 June 2006.
  30. ^ "New Year Honours List 2019".
  31. ^ Rosenberg, Matthew (18 June 2021). "Shadbolt opens up on health issue". Otago Daily Times.

Further readingEdit

  • Shadbolt, Tim (1971). Bullshit & Jellybeans. A. Taylor. p. 202.
  • Shadbolt, Tim (1980). Concrete Concrete. Republican Press. p. 20.
  • Shadbolt, Tim (2008). A Mayor of Two Cities. Hodder Moa. p. 238. ISBN 978-1-86971-100-9.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Covic
Mayor of Waitemata City
Office abolished
Preceded by
Eve Poole
Mayor of Invercargill
Succeeded by
David Harrington
Preceded by
David Harrington
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Show started
Dancing with the Stars (New Zealand) third place contestant
Season 1 (2005 with Rebecca Nicholson)
Succeeded by
Danyon Loader & Hayley Holt