Murray Ball was born in Manawatu. He spent the early part of his life in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. After being employed as a staff cartoonist on newspapers in New Zealand he worked as a freelance cartoonist in the UK. He returned to New Zealand in 1974 and created his best known cartoon strip, Footrot Flats. He lived with his wife on a farm on the outskirts of Gisborne until he passed away in 2017.