Maud Basham, also known as Aunt Daisy, was famous as the host of a radio show focused on domesticity. Upon the success of the broadcasts, she wrote accompanying cook books, and was awarded an MBE in 1956.
Daisy Basham began her performance career as a choir-member and soloist, as well as a conductor. During this time, she frequently appeared on Auckland radio stations as a writer and singer. Asked to stand in for the vacationing presenter of a children’s programme, she broadcast regularly for two weeks, and the moniker ‘Aunt Daisy’ was born. Soon after, she moved to Wellington on a permanent radio engagement, a position cut short soon after by the depression.
Now the breadwinner for her family, Daisy began taking positions with privately owned radio stations, and eventually landed on the ‘Friendly Road’, a radio church. Here, her job was to welcome listeners at the beginning of each day with a charismatic ‘Good morning everybody’, a signature for which she became tremendously well-known. Given her own morning programme for women, her popularity swelled as ownership of the station changed hands.
From 1936, now on the ZB network, Aunt Daisy was able to promote products of her choosing, and, on some occasions, a product endorsed in the morning would be sold out that afternoon. Whilst these were paid advertisements, Daisy would not promote any goods which she herself had not tested, and thus listeners trusted her implicitly. She would continue to broadcast her daily programme until 1963.
To accompany her programme, there were also at least 10 Aunt Daisy cookbooks, each with handy hints and tips. Having embarked upon a world tour in 1938, she became known in the USA as ‘The Dynamo Down Under’.
Adapted by Patrick Whatman from the DNZB biography by Peter Downes