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First published March 2011, last updated July 2011

Ritchie passed away at his home in Cambridge on 13th March 2011.

(Click here to view Ritchie's Wikipedia entry)

(Click here to read the Bay of Plenty Times article about Ritchie)


Living OS and heard about Ritchie hightailing it to that jukejoint in the sky...so sorry to hear.  He was brilliant fun, very naughty, brilliant gigs and kind to us.  And he wrote songs like Bastards of the Rodeo!  Never forgotten by Mish and Al (All Torn Up)
This photo, taken at our place, is of Ritchie, Glen Moffatt, Bill Chambers and Chet O’Connell just before going on a north island tour a few years back.  There is a clip on youtube that I took at the Admirals Arms in Coromandel on that tour where Ritchie talks about writing country music it is a banter we loved to hear at Java Jive so many times. We will miss you mate, you have left a gap in our hearts, can’t believe you aren’t going to leave your usual naughty message about Santa Clause and stockings on our phone this year.  I have laughed, I have cringed and I marvelled at your performances.  The cringing being hoping you wouldn’t say the f word at Sky City as you promised me you wouldn’t and I also cringed for others when they heckled you - as they had no idea it was about to come tumbling down on them ten-fold!  Love ya buddy.  Farewell but not Goodbye.. - Jane Jackson and Wayne Baird
I’ve just returned from Ritchie’s farewell and was saddened by some of the stories from his recent unwellness and pre passing lifestyle.  I’m so glad that myself and my family (members of Dixie express with Bryan) will remember him as he was when we last saw him, a mischievous, quick witted and loyal friend who would jump in and heckle someone if he thought they were bothering you.  Ritchie played with Dixie Express at the Wanganui Club on a few occasions a few years back, and every time was an inspiration to 3 young up and coming musicians in their teens.  Even in following years he would still remember them if they turned up to listen to him at his own gigs, even getting them up to sing or play along side him.  Ritchie you were a wonderful inspiration and a pleasure to know.  We will remember you always.  Say hi to Bryan for me. - Pat Beauchamp (wife of Bryan) 
Ritchie...  You had the heart of a loving Father, The presence of a Lion, And the musical attitude of an AK-47... 
You paved the path for countless musicians, and surely gave us the slap we needed when needed.. 
Your wit was far too quick for any stand-up comedian, Your chops had more blood, sweat and soul than any seasoned musician could ever dream of....  
The Aotearoa music scene has lost a true father. 
Arohanui Ritchie, Moemoe na Moemoe na - Kane Smith
Ritchie's middle name should have been "Persona" as he had a special one.  It was one of peace, pacification, and rock n roll animal all in one.  I only met up with him several times but felt an affinity with him instantly.  We talked enough to know what you need to know about someone.  Another era of Kiwi has eclipsed with his passing.  Rest brother, for you will need it before the next gig.  Peace. - Steve McDonald
Farewell loving brother, wayward uncle, terror of hecklers foes and friends alike.  From the day nearly 30 years ago, (when upon delivering your Mums paper you launched a barrage of foul abuse at me from her back porch,) through years of benders and musical adventures, to the last great day we spent together not so long ago, you were a true champion and friend.  You called me your Mini Me, and I guess some times I was.  We laughed like hell when I called you Death, but I wasn't prepared and have to accept the finality.  I'll always remember and love you mate. - Chris Baillie (Nancy Boy)
Hey Ritchie, it was a pleasure to have known and worked with you so long ago.  And where ever you are........just keep playing! - Dick Le Fort
An inspiration in so many ways.
I'm really missing you already my friend.
You made us laugh so much and your music thrills my soul and always has.
Your passion for life and music was matched by no one and I'll always be so very proud that you liked my songs.
I can't believe we won't get to record together again, my heart is broken and weeps for you my good friend.
Thanks for sharing your soul, thank you for the music and the love.
Turn the lights down low.
Now you fly Richie.
Paul Martin
Ritchie Pickett passed over in his home in Cambridge at 8:00pm 13th March 2011.  His wife Elaine, brother Peter and sister Penny, and friend Rhonda and myself were present.  It is with sincere sadness that my friend has gone, he would visit every day and we would recall the old days playing together and the many stories we remember well.  Ritchie often said “I can’t tell that one until I’m gone”  Farewell Ritchie, I’ll meet you at “The Great Gig in the Sky” - Phil Whitehead
Very sad to hear about Ritchie.  Far too young to go.  I didn't know him terribly well personally, but we crossed paths quite a few times touring the country back in the seventies.  Always found him a very energetic and committed performer, and a pretty crazy, but fun guy back then. - Don Wilson
RIP Ritchie indeed..I already got word..I will remember the good times - Ray Columbus
Ritchie Picket was the wittiest man I have ever met.. he always left me with a smile on my face, I will miss him always threatening to eat the sequins off my skirt one by one whilst I was singing on the stage!  Ritchie could deliver the best one liners I have ever heard...and did not bow to convention.. we all loved and admired him for that!  He will be sadly missed by myself and all his musical fraternity who all loved him very much...  Arohanui Ritchie, you were a "One Off".  Much love and RIP  - Suzanne Lynch
My partner, parents, sons, daughters, close friends and extended music family mourn the passing of brother Ritchie Pickett at 7.55.pm last night.  To date the greatest maniac I have had the joy of meeting and without doubt a giant of New Zealand entertainment.  Three weeks ago close mutual friend Derek Ferguson brought Ritchie to a private gig the band and I performed in Cambridge.  Pickett played guitar and sang for us at the party.  The first and as it turns out the last time we heard him work.  The Jealous Kind was sung to us in a way only Pickett could deliver it.  Full of anguish and pain and I assure you he was not in pain himself at the time.  Many of those close to Ritchie tried to talk to him about his health issues but he was never going to listen.  As he told me "why should I"?  That was Ritchie, always his own man, always with an eye on feminine beauty and always with the next song in his heart.  If I have one regret it is the fact that we will not hear his Jerry Lee licks again and never have the joy of experiencing his wit.  My love for Ritchie is evident.  The man was loved by so many.  What will carry me through is knowing he is at peace & no longer strung out in a bunch.  I will be at the funeral with my family doy.  I love you my dear friend.  Arohanui Ritchie. - Larry Morris
(email me your tribute to Ritchie and I'll add it in - andy@nzmusos.co.nz)


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