Auckland Viaduct, October 1966: a group of determined young men defy the police and government and, to the cheering of their fans, launch a coastal ship that has been converted to a pirate radio station which they intend to use to broadcast from the Hauraki Gulf.
It is the birth of commercial radio in New Zealand. Crazy as it seems, this is what it took to break the stronghold the Broadcasting Corporation had on national broadcasting at the time, despite a growing youth audience clamouring for radio that was in touch with their generation. Radio Hauraki, as the pirate station was known, broadcast their popular mix of music and chat from the so-called 'safe' international waters 50 miles from Auckland beyond the reach of government legislation, on and off from 1966-1970.
They weren't the first. Radio Caroline in Britain was trying to broadcast from the English Channel, the story of which was the basis for the comedy film The Boat that Rocked. But the Hauraki endeavour, unlike all other international attempts, succeeded.
And it was no joke. This was a labour of love for four young men, who invested their meagre earnings but considerable talents into making the unlikely enterprise work. They endured political interference, harassment, court cases, crippling financial woes and personal tragedy along the way. They also risked their lives. Battered by storms, including the tempest that sank the Wahine, the Radio Hauraki boat was continually breaking down, on several occasions running desperately for cover, once abandoned to run aground and another time shipwrecked.
Pirates of the Airwaves is a feature-length docu-drama made by award-winning Lippy Pictures (Tangiwai, Until Proven Innocent). A unique mix of drama with interviews, archival footage and retro music it faithfully recreates the extraordinary story of the Hauraki pirates.
I love history and anything that offers an historical point of view so it was a given that I was going to request this DVD to review and I was so excited to see it in my parcel from KIWIreviews.
I enjoyed watching it as they had the main characters telling their memories of what happened as they went along and the story moved along quite quickly. I know there was a lot that wasn't in the movie as they said that it took 4 years to achieve success so there would be a lot that was too boring to put into the movie. I don't think that people today realise how much these people had to put up with to get their dream going, we are lucky to have so much choice today but 40 years ago it was a completely different story.
I had to have a laugh at some of the parts in the movie, they had to find a boat and get it sea worthy, although it sounds like a lot of fun I'm sure it was rather frustrating at the time. I'm glad I didn't have to face those trials just to get what I want out of life, they had a dream and were prepared to do what it takes to get the dream to reality.
There was no special features but when you think about it most people are only interested in hearing from the people involved and they had already told their story, it was done in an interesting way.
I enjoyed the movie and wouldn't mind a lot more of this type of DVD. I would watch again and recommend to anyone interested in history.
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