HAYWARD, Henry John
Entrepreneur and pioneer of the motion-picture industry in New Zealand.
A new biography of Hayward, Henry John appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.
Henry John Hayward was born to the footlights in Wolverhampton, England, in November 1866. His formal education was scanty. Leaving school after completing his year in the fourth standard, he developed, in the rigid and varied school of experience, qualities of enterprise and self-reliance which were later to stand him in good stead in the hurly-burly of the theatre and the concert stage. He served a thorough apprenticeship on the provincial circuits of England and in London, and at the age of 39 arrived in New Zealand at the head of a theatrical combination known as West's Pictures and the Brescians. This was a family company, comprising three Hayward brothers, with Henry as manager, their three wives, playing as the Three Martinengo Sisters, and five other artists all related to the Haywards. Their repertoire included opera, comic opera, sketches, and concerted singing and orchestral performances. But in addition they introduced the Urban Bioscope, which with its electric arc lamp and non-flick shutter was the precursor of the modern cinematograph, and was hailed as being superior to anything previously seen in New Zealand. In the company when it opened at His Majesty's Theatre, Dunedin, on 10 April 1905, were Henry Hayward, manager and violinist; Charles Flavell Hayward, conductor, and composer and arranger of music; T. J. West, director of films; E. J. Hardy, chief technician; and James Sager, his assistant. After three highly successful tours of New Zealand and Australia, the company split profits and, by agreement, West concentrated on the Australian field and Henry Hayward and his brother Rudall took over the Royal Albert Hall in Auckland, in 1908 founding a moving-picture dynasty which in 1910 became Hayward's Enterprises Ltd., controlling or supplying 32 theatres throughout New Zealand. In the meantime John Fuller and Sons (q.v. Benjamin), of Sydney, had entered the New Zealand circuit with vaudeville and pictures combined, and there began a period of intense rivalry and competition between the two interests. After a few years the rivals reached an understanding, and in 1914 combined their resources to function as New Zealand Picture Supplies Ltd. and Fuller-Hayward Theatres, with 60 theatres valued at £350,000.
Wide travel and extensive reading, allied to a strong background of theatre and music, developed in Henry Hayward at a comparatively early age a consuming interest in his fellow men and with it a liberal and, in many respects, unashamedly radical philosophy. He was a prolific writer on entertainment and stringed instruments, on which he was an accepted authority, and one of his early enthusiasms was a thoroughgoing study and advocacy of the importance of diet and food values. In his later years he was an indefatigable worker in the interests of the New Zealand Rationalist Society, of which he was president for a time and one of the foundation members. He also plunged more and more into the social arena of his day. He was an ardent and articulate opponent of war, organised religion, and all forms of social and racial inequality; yet, despite his zeal, he preserved a wide humanitarianism and spirit of tolerance for which he was deeply respected. The native Liberalism which he brought with him from England, and an abundantly developed social consciousness, led him inevitably into the ranks of the New Zealand Labour Party, in the interests of which he employed all the robust enthusiasm that had brought him success in business.
In 1891, in Wolverhampton, England, Hayward married Louisa Domenica Martinengo, by whom he had one son. He died at his home in Hinemoa Street, Birkenhead, Auckland, on 21 August 1945. Auckland Star, 21 Aug 1945 (Obit).
by Ronald Jones, Journalist and Script Writer, New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, Wellington.