Radio Hauraki

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Radio Hauraki
Radio Hauraki Logo 2013
Slogan "Its Different"
First air date 1966
Format Modern rock
Owner The Radio Network
Webcast Listen live

Radio Hauraki is a New Zealand Modern rock radio network. It was the first private commercial radio station of the modern broadcasting era in New Zealand and operated illegally from 1966-1970[1] to break the monopoly held by the government. Private commercial radio stations had operated from the earliest days of broadcasting, but the government began to close them down, the process accelerating after World War II. To break the state monopoly, Radio Hauraki was originally formed as a pirate station in the Hauraki Gulf, the only offshore radio station ever to broadcast in the southern hemisphere, in a famous and historic story that saw the loss of one life.

Radio Hauraki's head office and main studios are now located on the corner of Cook and Nelson Streets in Auckland City, along with the other seven stations of The Radio Network,


Radio Hauraki was first mooted by a group of journalists who were dissatisfied with New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation radio stations, and the politics involved within. Private stations were able to apply for licences to operate, however all applications were stonewalled by NZBC. A small group involving David Gapes, Derek Lowe, Chris Parkinson and Dennis Callihan decided, with legal assistance, to start a private venture operating in international waters, outside of the confines of the monopolistic government departments of the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, who ran all land-based radio stations, and the New Zealand Post Office, who managed the radio spectrum. It is to Gapes, Lowe, Parkinson and Callihan that the radio monopoly was eventually broken, thus allowing private radio that is the norm today.

The four men bought a boat and tried to make it seaworthy, however the marine department continuously rejected their application for a warrant of fitness for the ship. So in 1966 the crew set sail anyway without the WOF. However the ship got caught on a drawbridge in the Auckland Viaduct and the crew were arrested. When they went to court the judge ruled in favour of them and in late 1966, the Tiri, the boat chosen to carry the transmitter, anchored in the Hauraki Gulf outside the 3-mile territorial waters limit. The station broadcast on the frequency of 1480 kHz, which was well outside the range of frequencies used by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation. After testing the transmitter with a broadcast from pirate announcer Bob Leahy, and having to replace the mast after winds of more than 30 knots knocked it down, Radio Hauraki officially started broadcasting on 4 December 1966. During the next 2 years, the crew on the Tiri would endure adverse weather conditions, fatigue, and continued efforts to shut down the station.

On 28 January 1968 disaster struck as the Tiri attempted to negotiate its way into Whangaparapara Harbour on Great Barrier Island in foul weather. The ship ran aground on rocks, with Radio Hauraki disc jockey Derek King keeping listeners up-to-date with running commentary. The final broadcast from the Tiri was "Hauraki News: Hauraki crew is abandoning ship. This is Paul Lineham aboard the 'Tiri'. Good Night." followed by a station jingle, and then the sound of the ship's hull striking the rocks. (This is not correct. The sound was, in fact, the noise of the untethered studio door banging against the jam as the ship rolled. The myth has been perpetuated for dramatic effect.)[citation needed] The "Tiri" was later towed back to Auckland and the broadcasting equipment was salvaged. However, the Tiri herself was beyond repair and was replaced four days later by the Kapuni, christened Tiri II by her new crew. A month after the loss of the Tiri, Radio Hauraki was back in international waters and broadcasting again.

In April of the same year Tiri II found herself beached again at Whangaparapara Harbour, a victim of the same storm that resulted in the Wahine disaster. After repairs she was back at sea in five days. Between this time and June 1968, Tiri II would end up beached at Uretiti Beach and caught several times broadcasting from New Zealand waters by radio inspectors. Just before Christmas 1968, Radio Hauraki became New Zealand's first 24 hour broadcasting radio station.

Radio Hauraki was not live radio. The studios were land based and most programs were recorded on reel-to-reel tapes in 1/2 hour segments approximately one week prior to their broadcast. This meant that while contests, current top tunes, etc. could be accommodated, news and weather were more of a challenge.

In mid-1970, the state monopoly on radio frequencies was broken, with the New Zealand Broadcasting Authority finally allowing Radio Hauraki to broadcast on land, legally. The Radio Hauraki crew had spent 1,111 days at sea. The final broadcast from the seabound Hauraki Pirates was a documentary on the station's history until that point, finishing at 10:00 pm when Tiri II turned and headed for Auckland playing "Born Free" continually. During their final voyage back to shore, announcer Rick Grant was lost overboard.

Radio Hauraki began FM transmission in 1990 on 99.0FM, and the 1476 kHz frequency was subsequently acquired by a local community group to broadcast the BBC World Service.

During the late nineties Radio Hauraki was networked into other regions around the North Island of New Zealand and in 2003 Radio Hauraki was networked into the South Island in Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.

Veteran pirate announcer Bob Leahy remained a newsreader for The Radio Network right up until 2009, which saw him remain on-air on Radio Hauraki some 40 years after he helped begin the station.

Radio Hauraki now[edit]

After several changes in ownership Radio Hauraki is now operated by The Radio Network becoming a radio network broadcasting across New Zealand.

Up until 2012 Hauraki played a mix of classic and mainstream rock music from the '60s til now. In 2013, Hauraki changed its music content playing modern rock and alternative music from the last 25 years, also changed their positioning statement to "It's Different" to coincide with their change in format.

Current hosts include high profile personalities such as: Matt Heath, Jeremy Wells, Mikey Havoc, Leigh Hart, Jason Hoyte, Steve Simpson[disambiguation needed] and Tim Batt.

Recent changes have resulted in a substantial listenership increase.[2]

A film dramatising Radio Hauraki's early years, 3 Mile Limit, was released in 2014.[3]

Ships involved in Radio Hauraki's history[edit]

Original Name Ownership Usage Notes
Tiri from AG Frankham Ltd First pirate radio ship Registered as a barge. Victim of political corruption and arrest, 1966. Ran aground at Whangaparapara, 28/1/1968. Laid up at Limestone Island, Whangarei.
Deodar New Zealand Police Arrested Tiri and crew on first outing. Arrest found to be illegal.
Marauder Bill Gibbs, Tryphena Supply, search and rescue.
Kapuni from AG Frankham Ltd Second pirate radio ship Known as Tiri II while in Hauraki service. 1968-1970. Laid up Rotoroa Island, Hauraki Gulf

Hauraki Network Schedule[edit]

Breakfast Weekdays 6am - 9am

Hauraki Breakfast with Matt Heath, Jeremy Wells & Laura McGoldrick. News and Weather with Glen Stuart. Traffic Updates for Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Daytime Weekdays 9am - 2pm

Angelina Boyd along with No ads til smoko from 9am, 100 minutes of ad free tunes.

Afternoons Weekdays 2pm - 4pm

Alex Behan with No ads til smoko from 2pm, 100 minutes of ad free tunes.

Drive Weekdays 4pm - 7pm

Mikey Havoc's Afternoon Express

Nights Weeknights 7pm - 12am

Georgia Cubbon

Saturday Morning Saturday 6am - 8am

Greg Prebble

Saturday Morning Saturday 8am - 10am

Sports Bhuja with Jason Hoyte & Leigh Hart

Saturday Morning Saturday 10am - 12pm

The Saturday Special with Tim Batt & Steve Simpson

Saturday Afternoons Saturday 12pm - 2pm

Breakfast Regurgitated (clips from Hauraki Breakfast)

Saturday Afternoons Saturday 2pm - 6pm

Georgia Cubbon & Angelina Boyd

Saturday Nights Saturday 6pm - 12am

The Saturday Shambles with The General

Sunday Breakfast Sunday 6am - 10am

Greg Prebble

Sunday Afternoons Sunday 10am - 3pm

Glen Stuart

Sunday Afternoons Sunday 3pm - 6pm

The Sunday Roast with Tim Batt

Sunday Nights Sunday 6pm - 8pm

TUNE-i-versity with Alex Behan

Sunday Nights Sunday 8pm - 12am

Scott Lotion


"Radio Hauraki, Top of The Dial"

"Radio Hauraki: Home of the good guys"

"Here to rock, not to shock"

"Rocking the Boat for 40 years"

"Classic rock that rocks"

"New Zealand's real rock station"

"Just great rock"

"We Endorse This Music"

"Its Different"

"Louder Communities Together"


  • Kaitaia, Kaikohe & Whangarei - 93.2 MHz
  • Auckland - 99.0 MHz
  • Waikato - 96.2 MHz
  • Tauranga - 91.0 MHz
  • Rotorua - 94.3 MHz
  • Gisborne - 105.3 MHz
  • Taupo - 92.8 MHz
  • Taranaki - 90.8 MHz
  • Hawke's Bay - 99.9 MHz
  • Manawatu - 105.8 MHz
  • Wellington - 93.3 MHz
  • Nelson - 90.4 MHz
  • Blenheim - 94.5 MHz
  • Christchurch - 106.5 MHz
  • Sumner - 89.3 MHz
  • Dunedin - 106.2 MHz and 1125 kHz
  • Southland - 93.2 MHz

Former Hauraki Announcers[edit]

Len McChesney Kevin Black Christopher Parkinson[disambiguation needed]
Ross Goodwin Paddy O'Donnell Bob Leahy
Mike Parkinson Gavin Comber Phillip Schofield
Ian Johnston[disambiguation needed] Barry Knight (Simeon) Aaron Ironside
Ian Ferguson Paul Lineham Lynnaire Johnston
Rick Grant Colin Broadley Carl Olsen
Keith Ashton Andy Faulkner Trudy Rana
Phil Gifford John Hawkesby Ian Magan
Leah Panapa Brian Strong Peter Telling
Dean Lonergan Mark Perry Dean Butler
Willy De Witt Dean Young Mel Homer
Nick Trott Nik Brown Mark Woods
Mike Currie Martin Devlin Fred Botica

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Monks, John, 2007 Radio Hauraki: The Pirate Years: 1966 to 1970
  2. ^ "Radio Network number one nationwide in talk, music and sport". 4 April 2013. 
  3. ^ 3 Mile Limit at the Internet Movie Database