Broadcasting great Kevin Black will be farewelled at a service in Auckland today.

"Blackie," 69, died at his Remuera, Auckland, home last week following a suspected heart attack.

A funeral service is to be held at St Patrick's Cathedral in central Auckland at 1.30pm.

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.

Black left Wellington's St Patrick's College - which he affectionately called Colditz Castle - at the age of 15 and travelled to the Prince of Wales Sea Training School in Dover, England.

It was in the British Merchant Navy, sailing to such exotic destinations as Brazil, Africa, the Persian Gulf and South-east Asia, that his interest in radio developed.

He began his New Zealand broadcasting career as a radio "floater" in Dunedin and read the television news before transferring to Auckland.

Hauraki pioneer David Gapes tempted him to switch to private broadcasting in 1976.

Black went on to become famous for his breakfast show's "inspired lunacy" with fellow presenters such as Phil "Loosehead Len" Gifford and John Hawkesby. The show pulled in 160,000 Aucklanders every morning.

In the 1980s, Black left Hauraki in a blaze of publicity to set up 89FM with other ex-Hauraki guys. Josh Easby, Black's one-time boss at Hauraki, said Black introduced something that was different to breakfast radio.

"He was a very talented broadcaster, who took breakfast radio to a new level.

"He was a naturally talented guy who instinctively knew how to entertain.

"He said things that had people talking about what he'd done."

Black leaves two adult children, Kyran and Xavier.