From Matapu to Tapuae

Words by  Irena Brooks
Roger Richardson Roger Richardson

2024 is Live Magazine’s 20th year.

To commemorate this, in each issue throughout 2024 we’ll be revisiting some of the stories we’ve done during that time. For our Summer issue, we’re revisiting Patrick Cameron and husband Randy Buckley at their Tapuae bach — one of the first homes built at Tapuae Estate. 

Since then the house has had a tower added, plus a massive outdoor fireplace and triple garage, amongst many other things.

Of course, it’s not only the house that has changed during that time … Patrick was awarded an MBE in June of 2022, the couple married in 2011, and they also became dads.

When I arrive, I’m greeted like a superstar.

Patrick is playing his grand piano, creating a spectacular show-worthy entrance.

My knock is timed to a lull in the music and he turns around with his signature sunny smile that encompasses delight, bonhomie and a magnificent setting for his marvellous silvery curls.

The international hair-dresser from Matapu has embraced the ageing process with the style he famously brings to everything he does.

With a career spanning over 40 years, Patrick Cameron is known throughout the hairdressing world for his exceptional long hair work. He has presented shows and educational seminars in every continent.

As an early advocate of digital education with his ‘Access All Areas’ platform he works very much online these days — a classic example of those ‘pivot’ stories from Covid. 

He quickly reacted to the pandemic situation and from his home studio Patrick set about producing free weekly online programmes, making it his mission to keep an optimistic and upbeat spirit. 
 He inspired others to increase their hairdressing knowledge and skills during their enforced time at home. Over 300,000 eager hairdressers tuned into ‘Education in Isolation’ and during the lockdown he was invited as a guest on many live sessions and podcasts, entertaining and inspiring others. 

The unexpected reward from his efforts was being nominated for an MBE (New Zealanders living in the UK can be considered for an honour for their work within the UK), announced during the Queen’s Honours List in June of 2022.

Nominated by his former business partner, Sue Callaghan, Patrick had no idea. Every nominee has to be investigated to check that everything claimed is true.

He was notified by an embossed letter from the Queen to his address in London.

Surprised and delighted, he couldn’t tell anyone apart from Randy, until the Honours List was published a few months later. 

The couple emigrated back to New Zealand in October 2022 and it wasn’t until October 2023 that they went back to London for Patrick to be presented with the medal by Princess Anne. 

“We went to Windsor Castle and were escorted in through the state entrance,” Patrick recalls with an accent that is still Kiwi but with an upper-class London wash.

“Then we went to the Waterloo Room where they schooled us in what to do — how to address her, how to bow and where to move. Eventually we were escorted through the castle … until we ended up in the Knights of the Garter Throne Room.”

“I was then told to go … to the middle of the room, where one of the senior courtiers was  … while (their daughter), Sue and Randy were escorted around so that they could get a good view of the whole thing. There was an orchestra playing and then the announcement came ‘Presenting Mr Patrick Cameron …’ blah blah blah blah blah, and of course I go forward to her Royal Highness, do a bow, and then I go forward to her, she pinned a medal on me, congratulates me, and starts talking to me.

“And I wasn’t really ready for the talking … so she said to me ‘Mr Cameron, well done for everything you’ve done during Covid 19 and what you’ve done for your industry’. We talked a little bit about our industry during Covid and then she said ‘You know I’ve been to a few of your (hairdressing ) colleges and I’ve seen all those heads you work on,’ and I said ‘Yes ma’am — aren’t you lucky that’s not your hair!’ And she burst out laughing. And I didn’t mean to say that, it just came out. One of the senior courtiers said to me afterwards, ‘Wow you were good — you made her laugh!’”

“Patrick is one of the biggest hairdressing content creators in the world,” maintains husband Randy Buckley. He recalls a show Patrick did to 150 hairdressers in Slovenia 18 months ago.

“Some of them took a bus for twelve hours to watch Patrick put hair up for 90 minutes.

“Patrick’s following in Europe, America, India, South America, is incredibly loyal and he can light up a room of hairdressers. It’s something to behold and I’ve been lucky enough to watch it.”

He has a live show every Tuesday at 9am (NZ time — Mon 8pm UK time) that goes out on Facebook and Instagram. Randy stepped in as the cameraman and interviewer when Patrick’s art director of 30 years couldn’t do it because of Covid and has continued the role ever since.

“We talk about what’s going on in our lives, what we’ve been up to, and I do a hairstyle. That’s been going on for about 186 weeks, since March 2020.

“I do digital content … I’m a content machine. I do a hairstyle of the week, then on that hairstyle I’ll then do several different edits that will then go across the social media platforms from Tiktok to our educational platform.”

Patrick does all the re-editing and voiceovers from his studio at home, which sits at the base of the ‘tower’ that was added on to the Tapuae Bach about 6 – 7 years ago.

He and Randy have also recently returned from Auckland, where Patrick was a judge at the New Zealand Hair and Barber competitions.

It is all a far cry from when his Hawera High School form teacher told him that he wouldn’t amount to much.


It was during the Covid years that the couple started talking about returning to New Zealand permanently.

“Randy wanted to come out earlier,” Patrick reveals, “probably a couple of years before I was ready to come. I still had a career that was taking me all over the world, blah blah blah, and when Covid hit, everything changed. My work stopped — no-one was doing shows, or education around the world — so that was really the beginning of the end for me.”

They also had their daughter, and her mother, to think about. Luckily, their daughter’s mother was ready for a lifestyle change and they followed the couple back to New Zealand and have settled into their new Taranaki lifestyle really well.

“Patrick and I are different generations,” says Randy, “we’re 12 years apart. My expectations of life included a family, marriage and kids if we wanted that. Patrick never considered that because he’s a different generation. Those 12 years between us in gay terms are miles apart … there was a huge difference. So we started discussing it and exploring whether it was something that ‘we’ wanted and I think Patrick thought, looking into me and my future, that it would be an important thing for me. So he was willing to come on the journey. ‘But,’ he said, ‘the only person that we would ever consider doing it with was Janice.”

Janice was a close friend of many years to both Patrick and Randy, “more like a family member” Patrick continued.  “We knew she would be an incredible mother so we said to her if she wanted a child we could help her make that happen.” The three parents are all very close friends, Ella was a little miracle that was waiting to come down to them.

“Ella has two homes,” says Patrick, “one in town, and one here.”

“That risk of emigrating to somewhere Janice and Ella didn’t really know was worth it to them, to keep us all together,” Randy smiles. “It feels very natural, Patrick’s mum and dad, my mom and dad, Janice’s mum and dad … all of our friends and family, it’s just a celebration of love.”


Reflecting on growing up in New Plymouth during the 70s and 80s, Patrick says he never had to ‘come out’ as such, he was just always ‘Patrick’.

“I lived a very happy lifestyle here (in New Plymouth). I didn’t feel pressured, I didn’t feel gay-shamed, people just went ‘oh, he’s Patrick.’ I still feel that. I don’t feel like I’ve got to fly the flag for anything because I’ve always felt very accepted here. And I love that.”

He puts that down to his positive attitude. “I look for the best in people.”

He counts himself lucky to have worked at Headquarters (hairdressing salon), which he remembers as a very safe environment, very creative and very nurturing.

“Lyndsay Loveridge (the owner) was phenomenal.”

The move from New Plymouth to London in 1987 was a natural one for the talented hairdresser.

He didn’t need the stepping stones of Auckland and Sydney.

For Randy, he did come out, “and then I shoved off,” he laughs.

“At that time, 1997 in Canada, it was OK to be gay but it was more tolerated rather than celebrated.” 

He went to London too and it was at a dinner party there that the couple met.

“We were set up,” they both laugh in unison.

Patrick takes up the story.

“I was having a dinner party and I had Julian Clary at my dinner table and his entourage. There were ten of us having dinner and my very good friend, who is a celebrity chef, rung up and said I want to bring a friend with me, is that all right? I said ‘Absolutely, another spud in the pot and off we go.’ So Randy was guest number 11.”

“He hates an odd number around the table,” Randy laughs in hindsight. 

“Patrick and I have a lot of values in common. We’re both from a rural background, both ambitious, both open to risk and challenges, and we immediately saw that in each other.”

While everyone else went on to a nightclub afterwards, Patrick and Randy lasted about 15 minutes there, then peeled off to a cafe and talked until  4 o’clock in the morning.

“We love our gay culture,” says Randy. “We treasure it, it’s a tribe. It’s a group of people who have gone through the process of coming out and are introspective and we don’t take things that seriously.”

When asked if they think it’s easier to be seen as gay today, compared to their youth, Randy replies.

“At this stage in my life, I wouldn’t trade it, but for most of my life I would have. Today things are more sophisticated than what was happening in the ‘90s — that is a huge advantage for young people now. Having said that, there were things we didn’t have to face, like social media. There seem to be a lot of different little cliques and groups and living this different kind of digital life, which I think is across the board difficult for young people. They perhaps struggle in different ways.”


With his blond Californian surfer looks and laid-back manner, it’s a bit of a surprise to discover that Randy actually grew up in the mountains of western Canada. 

Becoming Patrick’s videographer is now one of several hats he wears.

During 2023 Randy was a relief teacher at Spotswood College, which he really enjoyed, but his career is actually as a lawyer in the UK.

“My litigation career in the UK is going to wind up — I’m not taking on any new clients in the UK.”

After over two decades in litigation, he admits to being somewhat disillusioned with the process.

“Lawyers talking to lawyers seems to me, to be an inefficient way for people to solve their problems. So he plans to set up a negotiated dispute resolution business in Taranaki called FairPath Resolution with the tagline “One problem. One professional.”

The current set-up for most people is adversarial from the start.

“There’s such a duplication of services and it costs a fortune. So an early, neutral evaluation. If you have a problem, you can sit down with somebody like me and go over the facts. I can give people cautionary tales about what litigation is likely to look like and feel like. Then we can discuss the various ways you can resolve the problem and work on reaching a settlement. Turn the temperature down.” 

As he points out, sometimes it’s simply a matter of explaining the maths … “you can’t divide something and end up with the same thing.”

He’ll also offer fixed prices so clients don’t need to worry about how many hours it’s going to take. 

“It’ll be relationship-based, extremely confidential, everything gets deleted after the mediation.” And because he’s originally from Canada, Randy is genuinely neutral … he has no history or baggage from Taranaki.

“There’s lots of people who find going to a lawyer an obstacle but need help to resolve a problem.”

Work is now a luxury the pair can take or leave.

Their new pattern is to go back to London twice a year to do work. In April Patrick has an annual show in Germany he has presented (to 3000 people) for the past ten years, plus a Belgian job and three or four other jobs. In October he’ll be hosting a very big show he’s done for 20 years (at its peak it was broadcast to over 85 million people live online), and he’ll be tacking on several other jobs for while he’s there.

After a taste of the glamourous life and catching up with various friends in Europe and family in Canada, the pair are happy to retreat to their slice of paradise on the Taranaki coast.

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