Tom Scott, after being conceived on the banks of the Blackwater River in Ireland, was in due course born in London, a fact he does not want widely disseminated. In 1949, along with his mother and twin sister he was transported aboard the Tamoroa to New Zealand aged 18 months. He remembers little of the voyage apart from the mutiny and a loud bump when crossing the International Dateline.
He was educated at Feilding High School and Massey University where, much to his relief, he was expelled from Vet School. Because his mother was Catholic he wasn’t allowed to wear rubber gloves when performing rectal examinations on cattle.
Tom Scott, one of New Zealand's greatest characters, commenced his academic career studying to be a vet and ended up with a degree in anatomy and philosophy.
While studying at Massey University however he worked on the university's capping magazine, where his drawings were even then a quantum leap ahead of anything seen before. It wasn't long before he decided to pursue his love of journalism and current event commentary and develop his unique cartooning talents.
In the early 70's Tom turned cartooning and political journalism on it's ear with his cartoons depicting political figures and events. Tom's run ins with the late PM Sir Robert Muldoon took much of centre stage during Sir Robert's political career however there is no doubt that both respected each others talents albeit from different perspectives.
After a distinguished career with The Listener and The Auckland Star, Tom joined the Evening Post in Wellington as their political cartoonist until its demise in 2002 when he moved to the Dominion Post in Wellington.
Tom co-scripted the very successful film version of Footrot Flats with Murray Ball, has written several television plays, a television series and several books.
A very talented New Zealander who is passionate about New Zealand and what it stands for, his passion has brought him in touch with Sir Edmund Hillary and in 1996 Tom wrote a biography on Sir Edmund. In 2004 based on a four-part documentary series shown on TVNZ, Everest - View from the Top has been adapted for Channel 4 and Channel 4 International by Peter Williams Television and Tom Scott Productions. Tom Scott is the Producer/Director. Ian McKellen recorded a new narration in Wellington, New Zealand on 21 June 2002.
To make the original documentary of Sir Ed's May 29th, 1953 conquering of Everest, Tom travelled across the US with Sir Edmund and Lady Hillary as he spoke at fund-raising dinners, accompanied them to old haunts in Delhi, Darjeeling and Varanasi in India, and visited aid projects in the Solu Khumbu district below Everest in Eastern Nepal. They also took Hillary back to the South Pole.
Tom also has writen a play based on his father's life called The Daylight Atheist this, the first play by Tom, received critical acclaim in New Zealand and in June 2004 opened in Australia to great reviews.
Tom has won numerous awards, including the the Qantas Awards for New Zealand Cartoonist of the Year (five times), Columnist of the Year, and Political Columnist of the Year (three times). He also won scriptwriting awards for Fallout and for View from the Top. Scott co-wrote the screenplay for the animated feature Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale with Murray Ball. In 2001 Scott wrote the semi-autobiographical stage play The Daylight Atheist which has since been performed by numerous theatres in New Zealand and Australia. Scriptwriting awards for Fallout and for Sir Edmund Hillary’s View from the top.
He won his award for Fallout, a drama about the 4th Labour Government’s battle with the United States over nuclear weapons, even as politicians were threatening to sue for libel.) Four collections of his satirical writings and five collections of his cartoons have been published. He has written a play and television sit-com about his parliamentary experience.
In October 2018 Tom's long awaited memoir title "Tom Scott - Drawn Out" was released to critical acclaim. It chronicles the life of a New Zealand Icon.
Comments on the book:
Riotous, ripping yarns from a polymath who can't add or subtract but who has won awards for cartooning, print journalism, documentary film-making and writing dramas.
Drawn Out is a hilarious, heartbreaking, heart-warming account of Tom Scott's tragicomic childhood, his manic student-newspaper days, his turbulent years stumbling through the corridors of power, his fallings out with prime ministers, his collaborations with comic legends John Clarke, A.K. Grant and Murray Ball, his travels to the ends of the earth with his close friend Ed Hillary, and more...
Tom Scott wrote and illustrated a weekly column on politics for the Listener for over a decade in the 1970s and early 1980s. Since 1988 he has been the editorial cartoonist for Wellington's Evening Post and its successor, the Dominion Post.
A life member of the Press Gallery, he has observed at point-blank range prime ministers from Norman Kirk to John Key. He was famously banned from China by Rob Muldoon. He has been 'a boy on the bus' with David Lange, Mike Moore, Jim Bolger and Helen Clark. His television drama series and documentary on Ed Hillary have sold to a number of countries. Footrot Flats, which he co-wrote with Murray Ball, and his stage play The Daylight Atheist were hits on both sides of the Tasman.