21 April 2024

Council awards Hamilton Kirikiriroa Medal to Richard O’Brien, creator of Rocky Horror

The creative genius behind The Rocky Horror Show, Richard O’Brien, has been celebrated by Hamilton City Council with a new civic honour – the Hamilton Kirikiriroa Medal.

The medal recognises the significant achievement of Hamiltonians who have been highly successful in their chosen field and have raised the profile of the city.

Mayor Paula Southgate presented the medal to O’Brien at a ceremony adjoining the famed Riff Raff statue today (Thursday) morning.

Mayor Southgate said O’Brien’s creative legacy has been embraced by the city who see Richard as a “creative icon”.

“Richard has been hugely inspirational, and continues to be so. He will always be known for The Rocky Horror Show – how could he not? But he has given our city so much more than that,” she said.

O’Brien said receiving the Hamilton Kirikiriroa Medal was “a generous gift that is as welcome as a loving kiss”.

Richard O'Brien
Richard O’Brien received the medal from Mayor Southgate (Photo/HCC)

The Riff Raff statue is presently located in the plaza in front of Waikato Museum while the new Waikato Regional Theatre is being built. It will be returned to its Embassy Park home once the theatre build is completed in 2024.

Riff Raff is one of the main characters of O’Brien’s celebrated musical and the statue itself has become a must-visit attraction for Rocky Horror devotees.

He created the concept of The Rocky Horror Show while working as a barber in Hamilton from 1959 to 1964. The barbershop was located in front of the old Embassy Theatre where O’Brien attended many late night picture shows.

He inspired the country’s favourite Transylvania statue and taught a generation of theatre lovers to eloquently jump to the left, and step to the right.

Past recipients of the Hamilton Kirikiriroa Medal include John Gallagher, the late John and Bunny Mortimer, Dr Beverley Clarkson and Professor Bruce Clarkson, and Dr Peter Sergel.

Also read: www.newsviews.co.nz/riff-raff-statue-is-on-the-move-temporarily/

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