Radio legend Kevin Black farewelled

Last updated 15:18 25/02/2013
DANIEL GALVIN\ Fairfax NZ

Radio legend Kevin Black farewelled in AUckland

Kevin Black
ON THE BALL: Kevin Black, with his wife Kristin. He instigated the use of "candid calls" on his Radio Hauraki show in the 80s.
Oscars 2013 - Sally Field
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Kevin Black is brought into St Patricks Cathedral in Auckland.

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Broadcaster Kevin Black's mischievous voice rang out as mourners remembered a man who revolutionised New Zealand's radio waves. 

Recordings of Black's radio show, including his infamous pranks, played to the rock stars, loyal fans and family gathered today at St Patrick's Cathedral in Auckland. 

John Hawkesby, former Radio Hauraki co-host, said Black was sociable, loyal and lovable.

"The man with the very big heart which suddenly wasn't big enough."

Despite his fame, Black never forgot he was a lad from Johnsonville. 

"There was mischief without malice. Mishap without tears," he said. "Our pirate of the airwaves." 

Friend and fellow radio personality Tony Amos said "Captain Blackie" ruled radio in the 1980s.

"He loved radio because it allowed him to communicate intimately with everyone at once."

Black, best known for the Radio Hauraki breakfast show he hosted in the 1980s, changed the way commercial radio operated through his cheeky pranks.

He died suddenly from a suspected heart attack in his Remuera home on February 18.

Black was a mainstay of music radio, having worked for ZM, ZB, Classic Hits, Solid Gold and The Sound.

Hello Sailor musician Dave McArtney, mad butcher Peter Leitch and Radio Hauraki founder David Gates were among those attending the funeral.

His fans, friends and family shared tears and jokes about "Blackie", as he was widely known, outside the Cathedral today.

Black pioneered "candid calls", proving a hit with listeners.

He famously called the state mining authority to advise that he had dug a 40-metre hole in his backyard in search of uranium.

Such gags were revolutionary in an era dominated by state-controlled broadcasting, earning him infamy and making him the highest-paid DJ in the country.

Black retired in 2009.

Prior to joining the radio fraternity, Black spent time travelling the world with the British Merchant Navy.

During this time he worked on the world's first pirate radio station, Britain's Radio Caroline.

Pirate radio allowed him to circumvent the various industry and state controls on radio.

Black went on to work for the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation before joining the Auckland-based Radio Hauraki, which also had origins as a pirate station.

Black had no underlying health conditions.

He had been looking forward to his 70th birthday, in January 2014, and was in the midst of organising a bash for which he had asked his old radio pal Hawkesby to be master of ceremonies.

He is survived by his wife, Kristin, and children Kandace, Kyran and Xavier.

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