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Denis O’Callahan was a technical engineer whose talents were  responsible for putting  Radio Hauraki on the air, and maintaining its ability to broadcast despite several setbacks and mishaps to the ships and technical equipment.  

After leaving  Radio Hauraki  when it became a legal, landbased station he joined international communications company, Plesseys. While working there he also managed, through part-time studies, to gain a New Zealand Certificate of Communications in Telecommunications and a full engineering qualification with the English Institute of Engineers.

He then went on to work with electrical contractors William J Parlour, on automation gear and industrial controls equipment. He later joined International Data Ltd (IDL) as a field engineer, later becoming  Group Development Manager for the Eagle Technology Group (which grew out of IDL as one of New Zealand’s top computer companies).

As well as the people responsible for founding Radio Hauraki a New Zealand Government Minister - Jack Scott- played a significant role in the history of the station. His dual roles as Minister of Marine and Minister of Broadcasting brought him into direct conflict with those who wanted to launch Radio Hauraki and, while he had a duty to uphold the law with both maritime and broadcasting regulations he felt a certain sympathy for Radio Hauraki and often took a lenient approach to the station’s activities.


William John Scott - known as Jack Scott –was born in Waikato in 1916 and educated at Kawhia and Paterangi schools and later at Mount Albert Grammar School.   After leaving school he became a farmer on partly-developed land at Hobsonville near Auckland, before rising through the New Zealand National Party ranks to parliament in 1954. He represented the Rodney constituency from 1954 to 1969, when he retired.,

He was a cabinet minister in the Second National Government under Keith Holyoake. He was Minister of Marine (1963–1969), Postmaster-General (1963–1969), and Minister of Broadcasting (1963–1967). As Postmaster-General, Minister of Broadcasting, Minister of Marine and Minister in Charge of the Government Printing Office from 1963 he had a hand in events affecting the New Zealand way of life which now seem almost of another world.

The most famous perhaps were his considerable efforts in 1966 to stop Radio Hauraki putting to sea in the Tiri to set up a pirate radio station outside the three-mile territorial limit.

This unwelcome challenge of the Government's tight control of broadcasting saw Scott, as Minister of Marine, ordering the ship held in port under a detention order.

This declared that the Tiri, by "reason of her defective hull and lack of means of independent propulsion ... is unfit to put to sea". The Auckland District Court later dismissed charges of defying the order against five Radio Hauraki directors.

But it was probably as Minister of Marine that Jack Scott made his greatest contribution, pushing an infant New Zealand fishing industry towards a better future in the days when a trial export of fish to Japan was an event, and oyster and mussel farming was being investigated.

Under his ministry New Zealand established a 12-mile fishing zone limit - in the days when Japan longliners were sneaking even within the three-mile territorial limit and Russian, Romanians and others were also aggressively fishing the coast.

In 1964 there were complaints of large foreign whaling fleets off New Zealand, and the same year the Government offered our own Tory Channel whalers a guaranteed sperm-oil price to help their faltering operation.

Scott was described by some as a serious-minded minister who never minded a battle. And his own view of bureaucracy was that, though red tape might at times seem formidable, it was all part and parcel of the democratic system of checks and balances.

Retiring from Parliament he became chairman of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust from 1970-1973 and a director of several ferry companies. He was awarded a Queens Service Order in 1994.

In the 1994 Queen's Birthday Honours, Jack Scott was made a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for public services.

Do you have any other memorabilia about Radio Hauraki which we could add to this Special Exhibition?

If you do, and you are willing to allow the Museum to use it, please contact


We look forward to hearing from you

special exhibition TOP OF THE DIAL



The People - 1

The People - 2

New Zealand Broadcasting Structure

International  Waters

Tea Council



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