Pirate radio

New Zealand had no private radio stations in the early 1960s. The government monopoly on radio broadcasting was broken by a “pirate” (unlicenced) radio station, Radio Hauraki, which broadcast from an old boat anchored in international waters in the Hauraki Gulf.

1960s radio
Joe Haupt from USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The whole story is a bit of a comedy of errors: the boat was not able to get a Warrant of Fitness so it set out without one; it promptly got caught on a bridge and the crew was arrested; after they were released and successfully sailed out they lost their mast in a storm.

At one point their ship even sunk while they were broadcasting. Of course they treated it as news, ending with “Hauraki News: Hauraki crew is abandoning ship. This is Paul Lineham aboard the ‘Tiri’. Good night” plus a jingle.

The New Zealand government finally legalised commercial radio in 1970 and Radio Hauraki landed, 1,111 days after the first broadcast.

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