He left Dunedin as a boy to become one of North
America's most popular cartoonists. Now he's off to the
Antarctic to retrace the footsteps of an ancestor. Nigel Benson
meets Adrian Raeside.
Adrian Raeside by Otago Harbour. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Adrian Raeside is nervous about returning to Dunedin. He left
in 1970 as a 13-year-old after attending Maori Hill School.
"It's been a long, long time; nearly 40 years now. I've come
back almost as a tourist. I feel like a passenger pressing my
nose against the window," he says.
"I have been a bit nervous about it, but it's all been very
positive. I have a lot of memories here, although everything
looks smaller than I remember.
"I remember standing at the Dunedin Railway Station when I
was a boy and the big steam trains and the smell of smoke and
steam. It was tremendous," he says.
"It's nice coming back and remembering things like that. I
guess, at heart, I'm still a Dunedin boy."
Raeside left Dunedin when his late father, DSIR scientist
James Raeside, was transferred to Christchurch and then
Wellington, before the family emigrated to Canada via
"We lived for a time in a house on Royal Terrace. I've been
visiting the houses we lived in. But, I don't really know
anyone in the city anymore, except an old schoolteacher, Beth
Larkin, who lives on City Rd.
"We used to have a small cottage near Otakou which, at that
time, could only be reached at low tide by driving over the
sand. Needless to say, the family car eventually
disintegrated in a pile of rust. I'm sure there is a decent
road through there by now."
He now lives in Whistler, British Columbia, about two hours
north of Vancouver.
Raeside (51) is a Dunedin boy made good. Although, he's taken
a roller-coaster ride to get there.
He's worked at various jobs over the years, from loading
grain ships in Thunder Bay to surveying on Canada's West
"I just did odds and sods to keep myself going. But, all the
time I was sending out cartoon samples to newspapers and
getting rejection slips back.
Every day, there would be a rejection slip in the letterbox.
I finally sold my first cartoon for $2 in 1978 and I built
He has now been the editorial cartoonist for the Victoria
Times Colonist for 30 years and his cartoons appear in
more than 200 newspapers and magazines worldwide, from the
Los Angeles Times to Newsweek in Japan.
"I do about four or five editorial cartoons a week, on things
like politics and social satire."
His comic strip, The Other Coast, appears in more than 350
"The comic strip is about environmentalists. It sends up
environmentalists who live on the west coast of North America
and shows what hypocrites they are.
"There's been so much destruction in BC because of clear-cut
logging," he says.
"It's a parody of life, sort of. It's a place where dogs get
hooked on nicotine gum, oilmen drill for coffee and
environmentalists do their bit to save the depleted oceans by
sharing the shark fin soup."