Dion Murphy

ROCKONZ Rock Hall Of Fame
First Name· Last Name· Groups· Venues· Events· Entities· Submit· e-Mail· Links· Search
Previous ROCKONZ Rock Hall Of Fame entry .... ROCKONZ Rock Hall Of Fame complete list .... Next ROCKONZ Rock Hall Of Fame entry ....

    Award presented 2009   Award presented 2009

John R Campbell Collection


Dion Murphy - entertaining at The Spencer Street Revival Concerts, Christchurch Cathedral 2006

Dion Shennan Murphy started his musical career by winning many Christchurch juvenile singing competitions and in 1958 joined a new band led by Robin Hope (Guitar) called The Sapphires.  The group included Fred Mummery (Piano), Mike Green (Bass) and Murray Johnston (Drums).  In 1958, the band obtained a residency in a local coffee lounge, in lower High Street, Christchurch - called The Copper Cat, which was owned by Adam Ferkatovich.  Dion at that time, sang duos with another local musician/singer Maurice Cook (Cookie).  In 1959, Cookie left the band to take up a position as rhythm guitarist with Max Merritt and the Meteors and Dion teamed up with the female singer, Cecile Wylde, to sing duo songs with the on-going Sapphires.  The band then reformed, to become Dion Shannon and the Shamrocks with both Dion and Cecile operating as vocalists as well as together as Dion and Cecile - the duo.  The Copper Cat was one of the original night spots in Christchurch and it became a favourite spot for musicians such as Howard Morrison and The Howard Morrison Quartet to drop in for coffee after their local gigs, as the hotels closed at 6 o'clock and The Copper Cat remained open until around 2:00am in the morning - a rarity in 1959.


Dion and The Shamrocks at The Copper Cat

Dion Murphy

Dion + Cecile with The Shamrocks


More recently Dion and Cecile operated a group known as Sabra.  Dion has worked with many celebraties including Ray Columbus, Ray Wolfe, Tommy Adderley, Toni Williams and Howard Morrison.  Residencies include The Copper Cat, The Embassy, Tavern Rachael, Russley Hotel, The Hermitage, The Terminus, The Clarendon, The Hillsborough Tavern, The Zetland, Noah's Hotel Waitangi Room and The Christchurch Town Hall Restaurant.


Dion Murphy - Professional Boxer

Dion as part of Sabra

Dion Murphy - Professional Boxer


Dion at this time was fully committed to his boxing career, working his way from amateur lightweight Canterbury Champion to amateur lightweight New Zealand Champion and continuing on to become the undefeated Professional New Zealand Lightweight Champion by 1962.  As a result Dion had a very high public profile from his unbeaten professional boxing career, with crowds of over 4,000 attending his local fights, and this added to his singing profile with magazine articles boasting headings such as "The Singer With The Saturday Night Punch".  Dion and Cecile married in 1961 and moved initially to Auckland in 1965, then on to Hamilton in 1969, with Dion concentrating on his career as District Commissioner of Apprenticeships.  On returning to the South Island, they worked many venues and eventually moved to Timaru to manage The Terminus Hotel before returning permanently to Christchurch.  Over those years.  Dion and his wife Cecile, achieved major recognition with their Rock 'n' Roll Festival ROCKONZ which operated over a four year period from 2007 to 2010.


Dion and Cecile Murphy in Christchurch Cathedral 2006

Dion and Cecile Murphy

Dion and Cecile Murphy with the key to Christchurch City