Peter Petherick, the former offspinner who became the first New Zealand player to take a Test hat-trick, has died in Perth aged 72.

Petherick was one of only three bowlers - Maurice Allom and Damien Fleming being the others - to take a hat-trick on Test debut, against Pakistan in 1976. He also remains one of only two New Zealand bowlers to take a Test hat-trick, along with James Franklin.

Making his Test debut at the age of 34, with only one first-class season behind him, Petherick claimed his hat-trick in the first innings in Lahore. He had Javed Miandad - who was also on debut - caught top-edging a pull shot, before Wasim Raja send Petherick a return catch and Intikhab Alam was caught at silly point to complete the feat.

Petherick finished with a match haul of five wickets, but New Zealand lost the Test by six wickets. His brief Test career lasted six games in which he took 16 wickets at an average of 42.56. Only one of those Tests came at home - against Australia in Auckland - while the others were played in Pakistan and India.

It was not only Petherick's hat-trick that made his story remarkable, for he had not played first-class cricket until the age of 33. He was working as a mechanic when he was called up for his Otago debut in the summer of 1975-76, and his debut season brought 42 first-class wickets at 20.16, including 9 for 93 in an innings against Northern Districts in a Shell Cup match.

He was part of an Otago team that won the Shell Trophy in 1976-77, before his transfer to Wellington in 1978. Petherick's first-class career ended in 1981, after 52 matches and 189 wickets. He played two List A games in the 1978-79 and 1980-81 seasons.

"Most of his bowling was flight and guile and he had a wee bit of outswing with his slower arm ball," Petherick's former team-mate and New Zealand wicketkeeper Warren Lees told the Dominion Post. "There was minimal effort in his run-up, it was a three-metre shuffle to the wicket."

After his retirement from cricket, Petherick became a successful lawn bowls player who competed at the national championships in 2006.