Eldred Stebbing, one of the pioneers of the local recording industry, has died. He was 88.

His recordings, music industry nous and keen ears helped shape the careers of many of New Zealand's top entertainers from Howard Morrison in the late 50s, to Ray Columbus and the Invaders in the 60s, and then Th' Dudes and country musicians Patsy Riggir and Gray Bartlett in the 70s.

In 1958 he set up a studio in the basement of the Stebbing family home in Herne Bay and it was there he recorded songs like the La De Das' How Is the Air Up There and, most famously, the Invaders' She's A Mod and 'Til We Kissed.

He signed the Invaders to his Zodiac Records label in 1963 and was instrumental in the band's becoming the first New Zealand act to have an international hit with She's A Mod.

Leader Ray Columbus said Mr Stebbing was a true trailblazer on the New Zealand music scene, not only because of his recording skills but also on a business level.

"He was marvellous for the industry. Irreplaceable really. His was the first record company in New Zealand that I can remember who would advance royalties to the artists for things like travel, promotion and marketing. That was unheard of, and for a little label to be able to do it was amazing because they did it way before any multinationals did."

Other bands such as Max Merritt and the Meteors, the Underdogs, and Human Instinct also recorded in the basement studio throughout the 60s.

In 1970 Mr Stebbing built the Stebbing Recording Centre in Jervois Rd. It still operates today, and also manufactures CDs and DVDs.

In 2002, he received a lifetime achievement award at the Music Awards and in 2004 was made a member of the NZ Order of Merit.