The History of Viking Sevenseas and Murdoch Riley April 29 2016, 0 Comments
In July 1957 Murdoch started a recording company, Viking Record Company Ltd, with two partners, Jim Staples and Ron Dalton. At first it was situated in an upstairs room opposite the entrance to the Cable Car in Lambton Quay. Then the company moved to the top floor of 13 Jessie Street. One room was an office, the second was a record store, and the third held an assembly line where Ron Dalton made amplifiers and radio tuners. The next move was to 31 Harris Street, the manufacturing was abandoned, and Ron Dalton went to Auckland to open a recording studio. Murdoch was much involved at this time in the development of markets throughout the Pacific, personally being involved in recording Tahitian, Samoan, Fijian and Maori music. The growth of the business forced the company to move to a three story building at 5 Tory Street. A book and sheet music company called Sevenseas Publishing Pty. Ltd. was formed at that time in the early 1960’s and vans were put on the road to sell sheet music and paperback books. Also this company started to publish New Zealand books, some of which are listed below. At the same time Jim Staples went to Sydney and took an office in York Street, operating as Viking Record Company Pty. Ltd. At first that company was very successful, having a big hit in “Clap Your Hands” from Canada. However, eventually, the company had to be more and more supported financially from New Zealand, Jim Staples returned to Wellington and left for another position. Murdoch arranged the buyout of the shares of both Jim Staples and Ron Dalton, taking Bruce Cathie of the accounting firm of Hogg, Young Cathie & Co. as “sleeping partner”. Viking Record Company Ltd and Sevenseas Publishing Pty Ltd were amalgamated into Viking Sevenseas NZ Ltd at that time. Later Murdoch bought the shares of Bruce Cathie. Ron Dalton went on to become an artist manager. In 1986 Murdoch moved the business moved out to 23b Ihakara Street, Paraparaumu.
Murdoch wrote a number of books dealing with New Zealand flora and fauna, as well as Maori lore. The most significant, however, was Maori Healing and Herbal published in 1994, which was awarded Second Prize in the 1995 Montana Book Awards. In 2002 he sold the wholesale health-book business.
He still works in his business and writes in Raumati.