Gudgeon was raised on the East Coast and in the Waikato, and studied at the University of Waikato and the University of Hawaii. Gudgeon served in the New Zealand Army, and was part of deployments in Malaya, Thailand and Borneo. He eventually became a lecturer at Waikato Polytechnic. He was elected to Parliament as a list MP in the 2002 elections, having been ranked twelfth on the New Zealand First list. He lost his list seat following a large decline in New Zealand First's vote in the 2005 elections.