Murray Ball finds a Slice of Heaven

It is with great sadness that I write a tribute to one of New Zealand's best cartoonists.

Murray Ball (26 January 1939 – 12 March 2017) was from my home town, Feilding. Stanway I'm pretty sure, or at least Halcombe. Proud as punch they are - because he also made the All Blacks.

Murray Ball with two characters from Footrot Flats. Dominion post (Newspaper) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP-Portraits of New Zealanders-Ball, Murray-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23111673
Murray Ball with two characters from Footrot Flats. Dominion post (Newspaper) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP-Portraits of New Zealanders-Ball, Murray-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23111673

Murray Ball was someone who made us laugh, love, dream, and curse the Nor' Wester. He brought great characters to life in Wal, The Dog, Horse, Cooch, Pongo and Rangi, Cheeky Hobson, and many others besides.

I've been into comics since I could read the Beano and Monster Fun. Footrot Flats was something I discovered with my Dad. We collected the annuals, and went to see The Dog's Tale at the movies. A friend of mine even walked down the aisle to "Slice of Heaven." Lol.

Murray's cartoons and characters addressed pivotal moments and issues in our history - the Springbok Tour coming to mind - rugby being very close to Ball's heart. I still have the clipping from the Manawatu Evening Standard, when the Dog wrote in to say he was hanging up his All Black Jersey.

See ya mate.  You will be missed. Love from Fee and The Dog.

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