Topp Twins

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Topp Twins
The Topp Twins.jpg
Jools and Lynda Topp at a screening of Untouchable Girls in September 2009
Background information
OriginNew Zealand
GenresComedy, country, folk, yodeling
Years active1981–present
WebsiteThe Topp Twins Official Website
MembersDame Jools Topp
Dame Lynda Topp

The Topp Twins (born 14 May 1958, Huntly, New Zealand)[1] are the folk singing and activist sister comedy duo of New Zealand entertainers Jools and Lynda Topp. They are known for their country music influenced style, live shows and television performances. They often perform as characters, the most notable being the roles Ken & Ken, and Camp Mother & Camp Leader.[2]

The Topp Twins have performed as a country music-singing comedy duo for more than 30 years. In the late 1990s, they created their own TV series, which ran for three seasons and showcased their iconic cast of New Zealand characters, including Camp Mother & Camp Leader, the Bowling Ladies and Ken & Ken, roles for which they cross-dressed as 'typical kiwi blokes'.[3] The series won the twins several awards at the New Zealand Film and Television Awards and screened on the ABC and Foxtel networks in Australia.


The twin's documentary feature film, The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, directed by Leanne Pooley, was released in April 2009. It broke all previous records for opening day, and opening weekend, for a NZ documentary. After just four weeks at the box office, it made over $1 million. To date, it has made almost $2 million in box office sales.[4] The movie was produced by Arani Cuthbert. The cinematographer was Leon Narbey.[5] It was well received and has been shown at numerous film festivals worldwide,[6] winning awards at the Toronto International Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Göteborg International Film Festival,[7] Portland International Film Festival and the 2009 New Zealand Film and Television Awards.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Both Jools and Lynda are openly lesbian.[8] In March 2013, Lynda married her long-time partner Donna Luxton, a preschool teacher.[9][10] At the time of their marriage, same-sex marriage was not legal in New Zealand, so the couple entered into a civil union as a substitute for marriage.[10] Same-sex marriage was made legal in New Zealand just a few months after the wedding.[11]

Before the third reading of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, which ultimately passed and legalized same-sex marriage in New Zealand, the Topp Twins publicly endorsed the bill in a post on their website.[12] In a statement, Lynda said, "Everybody should be able to stand up and say 'I'm getting married'. A Civil Union is demeaning, this idea that you will never be good enough, that your love is somehow less than or not as worthy. There's no romance to it. And today, I feel more romantic and more in love than I've ever felt in my life."[11]

Breast Cancer[edit]

Jools Topp was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2006 at the age of 48. Originally examined by a physician in January 2006, nothing was done as it was not detected by a mammogram. Topp was diagnosed seven months later when the breast cancer showed up with an ultrasound exam. She recovered well after receiving a mastectomy in October 2006 and several months of chemotherapy.

She and her sister Lynda were already breast cancer activists and continue to use their celebrity status to educate the public about the disease.

Recognition and awards[edit]

Jools Topp (left) and Lynda Topp (right) in October 2018, after their investitures as Dames Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to entertainment, by the governor-general, Dame Patsy Reddy

In 1984 the Topp Twins were named NZOA Group of the Year.

Lynda and Jools Topp were made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in 2004.

They were inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame at the APRA Silver Scroll Awards in Auckland in September 2008.[13] This award was given as a lifetime achievement award for songwriting, and the fact that their songs and music have influenced New Zealand culture during their careers which span more than 25 years.

They were presented with the Rielly Comedy Award from the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand in 2009.

In 2010 Wintec awarded the twins honorary masters degrees, in 2011, Waikato University awarded them honorary doctorates.[14]

In the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours, both Lynda and Jools Topp were appointed Dames Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to entertainment.[15]


The Topp Twins performing in 1981


  1. ^ "The Topp Twins". Christchurch City Library. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  2. ^ "Characters: Camp Mother & Camp Leader". The Topp Twins Official Website. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Characters: Ken & Ken". The Topp Twins Official Website. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Untouchable Girls". The Topp Twins Official Website. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  5. ^ NZ On Screen. "Leon Narbey". Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  6. ^ "Untouchable Girls: Film Listings and Awards". The Topp Twins Official Website. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Dragon Award Winners". Göteborg International Film Festival. Retrieved 18 April 2013. Audience Award – Best Feature Film ... Winner 2010: The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls
  8. ^ "Topp Bio". Archived from the original on 15 October 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  9. ^ "Lynda Topp Marries Her Lady Love!". Topp Twins Official Website. March 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Couple to tie knot in Topp style". Television New Zealand. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  11. ^ a b "MPs vote to legalise same sex marriage". Television New Zealand. 17 April 2013.
  12. ^ "We Support the Gay Marriage Bill introduced by Louisa Wall and urge MP's to consider the rights of all New Zealanders in their pursuit of happiness". Topp Twins Official Website. 17 April 2013.
  13. ^ "Opshop win Silver Scroll Award". The New Zealand Herald. APN News & Media. 10 September 2006. Retrieved 24 October 2010. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  14. ^ "Topp Twins Accept Honorary Doctorates From Waikato". Retrieved 26 October 2011. Last year Jools and Lynda Topp were honoured with honorary masters' degrees from Wintec, and yesterday they were back on the Founders Theatre stage accepting honorary doctorates from Waikato University.
  15. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2018". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.

External links[edit]