CHRIS PARKINSON (R.I.P.)

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First published April 2016

Radio Hauraki co-founder Chris Parkinson passed away on 27th April 2016, aged 74.  Chris founded Radio Hauraki in 1966 with David Gapes, Denis O'Callahan and Derek Lowe.

Read Radio Hauraki's article about Chris's passing  

TRIBUTES

"Another one bites the dust"
In a sad week where we lost Bill Sevisi Chris has come as a shock.  We knew he had had a number of events that were serious but he always seemed to recover.
My first memories of Chris were at the Oriental Ballroom with the Keil Isles.  He did the compering and sang a few numbers.
Then of course the big one Hauraki, which is history. Chris's voice was unmistakable and if you listened to radio you most likely heard him voicing a commercial or taking a radio program over many years.
He didn't suffer fools, he was a passionate car racing enthusiast and a man with strong opinions, usually informed and correct.
He was an icon in NZ radio and will be sorely missed, and taken far too soon. [I can feel Chris correcting my grammar as I write]
RIP Chris you will be remembered with respect and love. - Bill Belton
I was playing with the Keil Isles band in the mid 60’s, we were the regular band at the Phil Warren’s “Oriental Ballroom” on Symonds St, Auckland.  Chris Parkinson was the compere... he also sang a few songs and he handled this role in a very slick and professional way.  
A lot of people don’t know, but Chris was also a trained radio electronics technician.  It was Chris who upgraded and rebuilt the old ex naval radio transmitter that was installed in the first “Radio Hauraki” boat, which then began broadcasting from the Hauraki Gulf in December 1966.  
The interesting part of his story is that he was not ever a trained announcer, however his impressively clear speaking voice soon won him a job “on air” for his beloved pirate radio station - of which he was one of the founding members.  
Chris later went on to become one of NZ’s busiest voice-over/newsreader/announcers...also working on TCN9 and radio 2GB over in Sydney for 2 years.  
In March 2016 I was fortunate to spend time with Chris in Auckland and he really enjoyed talking about those “halcyon” days.  RIP Chris. - Dave “Red” Williamson
Wonderful memories of Chris at The Dallas Four's flats in Hieber Buldings, Dominion Rd.  Chris was often dropping in at odd times usually at Doddy and Basil's flat, fantastic sense of humour. - Richard Roberts
Go well Parky, you're a legend. - Alan Galbraith
I was very sad to hear of Chris' passing.  He had a big influence on all of us in Larry's Rebels and many other young bands as well.   He had a very distinctive bass voice and did backing vocals on a lot of Kiwi records in the 60´s including with Dinah Lee and Jim McNaught to name just two.  
We had a lot of fun with “The Good Guys” – Peter T,  Ian McGhan, Paddy O´Donnell, David, Derek and, of course, Chris.  
He was also a keen motor racer, a regular performer at Pukekohe and Bay Park in his Mini.  He´ll be sadly missed by us all. - Viv McCarthy
Back in the late 1960s Chris had a real affinity with the Dallas Four and used to hang out with us. He was notorious for his extreme stunts which always brought mirth but also horror. He would visit us at our flat in Heiber Buildings and shock everyone by hanging by his fingers outside a third floor window. He has always had a love affair with Minis and used to take us out and performing handbrake spins in the wet. Scared the beejeebers out of us.
In recent times when I have caught up with him he has not been well but still maintained his sharp wit....and his feigned grumpiness. Will miss him greatly. - Graham Gill
The man with the golden voice. - Dave Hurley
Chris recorded at EMI/HMV studios back in the early sixties with the late Frank Douglas.  In this capacity we worked together, I was playing guitar for the Blockbusters (recording group) the "Premiers" and the "Measles".  
Chris showed great initiative by building a "plate echo" behind the studio wall.  It consisted of a sheet of steel suspended by ropes, a small speaker on one end and a magnetic microphone on the other.  The effect was damn good, a sustained echo effect that could be fed into the sound mixer.  Probably a first for NZ.
I flatted with him for a period then and my strongest memory is Chris walking around our Wellington flat with one hand cupped over his ear while he practiced his 'commercial voice'. A favourite ad was Marlboro; Chris would practice that word alone for hours!  It apparently worked, he became NZ's top commercial voice! - Neil Harrap
(email me your tribute to Chris and I'll add it in - andy@nzmusos.co.nz)

 

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