Ray Columbus + The Invaders

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Rob Carpenter / Murray Ward Collection


The Invaders with Ray Columbus - Ian Baker's 1965 image taken on Auckland's Queen Street
Billy Karaitiana [Kristian] (Bass), Wally Scott (Rhythm Guitar), Ray Columbus (Vocals), Jimmy Hill (Drums) and Dave Russell (Lead Guitar)


... early lineup which featured on Club Columbus TV Shows
Mac Jamieson, Peter Ward, Ray Columbus, Brian Ringrose and Dave Russell

... early Invaders
featuring ace drummer Peter Ward


... The Invaders at The Plainsman, Christchurch - early 1963
Puni Solomon (Bass), Wally Scott (Guitar), Dave Russell (Guitar)
and Peter Ward (Drums)

... early Ray and The Invaders, circa '62/63
Mac Jamieson (Bass), Ray Columbus (Vocals),
Wally Scott (Rhythm Guitar) Peter Ward (Drums)
and Dave Russell (Lead Guitar)

... at the Oriental Ballroom, Auckland
Wally Scott, Ray Columbus, Billy Karaitiana, Dave Russell
and Jimmy Hill


By late 1961 The Downbeats had parted company and the younger players (Brian Ringrose, Dave Russell, Mac Jamieson and Peter Ward) briefly changed their name to Ray and The Drifters, moving to a regular full-time gig at The Plainsman in Lichfield Street, Christchurch.  This led on to a four-part Christchurch production which was shown on National TV called Club Columbus, and it provided impetus for the group by shaking out invitations to go to Auckland to work.  In 1962, immediately prior to the move to Auckland, the band was renamed Ray Columbus and The Invaders.  Brian Ringrose was still at school and could not go — he was replaced by Wally Scott.  Bassist Mac Jamieson similarly did not go and was replaced by Puni Solomon.  The resultant line-up is seen in the picture immediately above (left), but things were changing, and early in 1963 The Invaders returned briefly to Christchurch at which stage, Peter Ward decided to leave the band to get married.  His replacement was Jimmy Hill (all the way from Mataura, just like Wally Scott).  Back in Auckland the group took up residency at The Monaco, contemporaneously signing with Zodiac Records (Stebbings).  In preparation for their first trip to Australia, Puni Solom was replaced by Embers bass guitarist John "Yuk" Harrison, but Ray had been persuing Billy Karaitiana (who was at that time with Max Merritt and The Meteors), and Billy joined back up with The Invaders just prior to embarking on the Australian Trip in November 1963 (that lineup is seen in the picture immediately above on the right-hand side).  Whilst in Australia in 1963 they appeared at Surf City (Sydney's top teen venue).  1964 saw appearances on Australian TV (Bandstand and Sing Sing Sing).  Back in New Zealand in 1965 Ray Columbus and The Invaders toured with The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison and The Newbeats, and went on to win the prestigious Loxene Golden Disc Award later that year with Till We Kissed.


Ray and The Invaders hamming it up

Ray Columbus

Signing time at The Plainsman


Mac Jamieson

Brian Ringrose

Peter Ward

Puni Solomon


Billy Karaitiana (Billy Kristian)

Wally Scott

Dave Russell

Jimmy Hill


Ray Columbus, Dave Russell, Wally Scott,
Billy Karaitiana and Jimmy Hill

Jimmy Hill, Dave Russell, Wally Scott and Billy Karaitiana
Publicity Shot - 1965 Christchurch