Humour-filled farewell for radio icon 'Blackie'

By Kieran Campbell

Radio legend Kevin Black. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Radio legend Kevin Black. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Kevin Black was a man who would never intentionally hurt anyone, but now he suddenly has, the broadcast legend's old friend John Hawkesby said today.

"Blackie has left the building," Hawkesby told mourners at his friend's funeral this afternoon.

"The shock still reverberates through us all."

In Auckland's St Patrick's Cathedral, family and friends of the "pirate of the airways" laughed, applauded and wiped away tears in a humour-filled farewell to the 69-year-old.

His wife Kristin and children Kyron, Xavier and Kandace were surrounded by hundreds of mourners, some dressed as brightly as the man they were there to celebrate.

Black died at his Remuera home last week of a suspected heart attack, one month after his 69th birthday.

"Kevin, so sociable, approachable, engaging, gentle, loyal, and so lovable.

Now no longer with us," said Hawkesby, a former broadcasting mate.

"The man with a very big heart that suddenly wasn't big enough."

Black was most famous for hosting the breakfast slot on Radio Hauraki and later Solid Gold and The Sound.

He was once the highest-paid private radio DJ in New Zealand and was famous for his on-air pranks.

"There are more stories and anecdotes about Kevin Black than any other New Zealand broadcaster ever," Hawkesby said.

"And they are all true. And they don't require any embellishment. Sadly a lot of them can't be told, especially not here."

Black's wife, Kristin, described her husband as someone with an enormous capacity to love.

"Words just can't express how much I already miss him," she said.

"Kevin, I'll always love you. Thank you for loving me so much."

Kyran paid tribute to his father as "the Catholic boy who liked the holy trinity: Blackie's holy trinity ... The sex, the drugs and the rock and roll".

"Today we have a show without a showman," Kyran said.

Black's younger daughter, Kandace, said she felt sorry for her mum who would now face the hardest years of her life on her own - "my teenage ones".

"To me he was my dad with the added bonus of being a prankster.

"He taught me how to laugh and be positive.

"Without you, without your love I'd be lost.

"I love you pa. You're my best friend."

The broadcaster's black coffin, draped in white flowers, was carried into the cathedral to the rock song Welcome to the Boomtown.

Hundreds of mourners had filled the church's pews to celebrate "the life and legacy of a truly remarkable man", Monsignor Bernard Kiely told the congregation.

He said with the recent passing of renowned broadcaster Sir Paul Holmes and the current illness of sports broadcaster Phillip Leishman it was an opportunity to "reflect on the people who somehow form us".

"The people we welcome into all parts of our life. They almost become family," he said.

Broadcasting friend Tony Amos says he was asked the other day "where do you think, heaven or hell?"

Amos said he replied that Black had a badge that said "access all areas".

"He was larger than life and bigger than big," Amos said.

"He loved radio. He liked television, magazines and books. But he loved radio.

"He is a remarkable man."

Amos said he liked Black as soon as he met him in the mid-1970s.

"He engaged with us and he had that rare gift of engaging with everybody. Whoever you were, whatever you were."

- APNZ

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