David Gapes Profile

Steven Shaw
2 Jun 2019

Journalist, commercial radio pioneer, band manager and music lover – David Gapes kicked open many doors. He fought a state-owned monopoly and won. He brought rock’n’roll and pop music to our radio waves and managed one of New Zealand’s premier acts.

Co-founder and managing director of Radio Hauraki in the 1960s and early 1970s, Gapes became Hello Sailor’s manager in 1977, and began an era of live, local original rock at the Gluepot hotel in Ponsonby, Auckland. He took Hello Sailor to Los Angeles in 1978 hoping to get them an international profile and a recording contract, but stretched financial resources led the band to return to New Zealand in early 1979.

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David Gapes and Denis "Doc" O'Callahan.
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David Gapes.
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Trailer for 3 Mile Limit, a 2014 dramatisation of the Radio Hauraki story. Matt Whelan stars as a fictional character largely based on David Gapes. (NZ On Screen)
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David Gapes in Los Angeles, 1978.
Photo credit: Jeremy Templer
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David Gapes, photographed in May 2019.
Photo credit: Sheryl Morris
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2007 documentary Sailor's Voyage - David Gapes and Hello Sailor head to Los Angeles (NZ On Screen)
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Radio Hauraki pioneers celebrate the station's first anniversary with some fans. 
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Assorted bands that trod the stage upstairs at The Gluepot, circa 1985. Amongst the faces are Hello Sailor, promoter Mike Corless, Beaver, Josie Rika, Hattie St. John, Hello Sailor's manager David Gapes, Rick Bryant, Trudi Green and Sam Ford of The Neighbours, Neil Edwards, Phyllis, booker Eddie Cook and Hammond Gamble.
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October 23, 1966: David Gapes, with fellow Radio Hauraki pirates Brian Strong (left) and Peter Telling (at right in white crash helmet), sitting in the jaws of the Auckland western viaduct drawbridge to stop it from lowering and assist the Tiri to leave the viaduct and set sail.
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David Gapes.
Photo credit: Photo by John Monks
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Hauraki Pirates David Gapes and Ian Magan chat to Newstalk ZB's Jack Tame about the Hauraki story (July 2014)
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Rock The Boat: The Story of radio Hauraki 1965 - 1970
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Trailer for Pirates of the Airwaves, a 2014 docu-drama about the early days of Radio Hauraki.
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2007 documentary Sailor's Voyage - David Gapes discusses his time as manager of Hello Sailor (NZ On Screen)
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David Gapes surrounded by cast members of 3 Mile Limit (2014), a dramatised television feature based on the early days of pirate radio station Radio Hauraki.
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Dave McArtney and Harry Lyon with producer Rob Aickin (standing) and manager David Gapes. Stebbing Recording Studios 1977/78
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
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Defence lawyer Roger Maclaren and a group of Radio Hauraki defendants led by David Gapes and Chris Parkinson arriving at Auckland Magistrate's Court, November 2, 1966.
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Tiri II is docked in Auckland and about to get the super-sized aerial.
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
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