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Special reason for Raglan to mourn NZ rock legend

Old Raglan mates and musical associates of a New Zealand rock legend who frequently visited and played here over the years — and even had a home in town — were still coming to terms this week with his loss.

Dave McArtney, who died at his Point Chevalier home in Auckland, may be best remembered as a founder of iconic bands Hello Sailor and the Pink Flamingos, but Raglan was his bolt-hole and he often performed with the Raglan Mudsharks.

He also did solo and Pink Flamingo gigs in Raglan, and toured with the Midge Marsden Band.
Close mate and one-time roadie Ross Henderson, who lives at Manu Bay, recalled this week that Dave had been keen to escape from the Auckland scene, and had good friends in Raglan.

“He felt at home here and in the ‘80s bought a house in Cross Street, which he owned for many years,” Ross said.
“Even after he sold his house he continued to spend time at Manu Bay where he loved the bush and ocean, his Raglan friends, a cold beer and a good wine.”

Ross added that Dave “managed to spend a few days with his friends here shortly before his death”.
He said Dave enjoyed being part of the Mudsharks but was too ill to do the most recent gig, at the Raglan Club, earlier this year.
Ross also revealed that Dave was a man of many other parts.

“He was a craftsman, a writer and an intellectual and had a private but deep spirituality. He was an expert skier and loved to surf. He loved his family and was proud of his grown-up kids. But above all he was a good mate, a funny, creative and loyal friend who never had a bad word to say about anyone.”

Raglan muso and Mudsharks veteran Dave Maybee described Dave McArtney as a “real gentleman and neat guy” who loved the spirit and landscape of Raglan.

He also recalled that Dave did a lot of the incidental music in the still-celebrated late ‘80s doco “Raglan By the Sea”, the springboard for Gary McCormick’s popular “Heartland” series.

Outside of Raglan Dave was best known for Hello Sailor, the band he founded in the mid ‘70s with Graham Brazier — also a regular Raglan visitor — and Harry Lyon. One of his classic compositions, “Gutter Black”, was used many years later as the theme song for the westie television series “Outrageous Fortune”.

He later went on to form the Pink Flamingos, another iconic New Zealand rock band.

Ross emphasised Dave was not only a prolific and award-winning songwriter but also an award-winning producer, for a Narcs album.
As a tutor at the Institute of Music and Audio NZ in Auckland he loved working with young musicians, but he also had a thirst for knowledge that saw him graduate with a masters degree (hons) two weeks before he died.

Edith Symes

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