He's famous for being one of Radio Hauraki's original pirates but Ian Magan started his broadcasting career in Whanganui, where he was also a keen supporter of the YMCA.

Magan, who died last week aged 80, has been a feature of the New Zealand music industry since he helped launch the country's first private radio station, Radio Hauraki.

His impressive career began in Whanganui where he worked for the local 2XA radio station.

"I had four years at the NZBC as it was then, I suppose you could say, learning my craft ... I joined as an announcer and spent my whole four years in Whanganui as an announcer on the station," Magan told RNZ in 2017.

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"Of course working on a small provincial station you do tend to get a lot of experience which I really appreciated. One minute you're out with a tape recorder doing interviews at the Stratford A and P show and the next you're on air reading the news. It was a very varied life and I thoroughly enjoyed it."

When he lived in Whanganui, Magan was an instructor and board member of the YMCA.

Whanganui's Hans Vanderschantz remembers being a youngster when Magan was part of the local YMCA.

"Ian always seemed to be around," Vanderschantz said.

"He was bright, he was happy. He was a great supporter of the YMCA in the 50s and 60s until he went on a little sea journey [with Radio Hauraki].

"He kept in touch and I ran into him only a few years ago in Palmerston North. He was always genuine, a jolly chap. I ran into him at different times over the years and we've always been able to chat.

"His interest was in the YMCA as an organisation. Radio was his life. He's someone you always imagined would go on forever."

Magan left Whanganui for Auckland where he became one of the original hosts on Radio Hauraki - alongside David Gapes, Derek Lowe and Chris Parkinson - when the pirate radio station began broadcasting on a boat in the Hauraki Gulf in 1966.

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At the time, all radio was controlled by the Government and was limited to Top 20 hit parades. But young Kiwis wanted to hear more music and the pirates came together to give the people what they wanted.

Ian Magan with Tim Finn in the early 1980s. Photo / Murray Cammick, AudioCulture
Ian Magan with Tim Finn in the early 1980s. Photo / Murray Cammick, AudioCulture

After leaving Radio Hauraki, Magan stayed in the music industry, founding Pacific Entertainment, which brought some of the world's biggest headline acts to New Zealand, including Michael Jackson, AC/DC and Elton John and Billy Joel.