Gisborne radio legend keeping locals connected amid the storms

A radio legend has helped keep Gisborne locals connected, informed and updated on the airwaves 24/7 after Cyclone Gabrielle wiped out telecommunications in the district.

More FM host Bevan Chapman spent several nights sleeping on a mattress in the studio while he was broadcasting.

“I just went on air and did what I do, just local radio passing on messages and hopefully keeping everyone informed as best as I could,” he told Seven Sharp.

With no phones or internet to rely on, people started delivering hand-written notes for Chapman to read out on air like a constant community noticeboard.

“Notes started coming under the door. One, two and suddenly, we just had note after note,” he explained.

Local listener Sheree Gallacher called the updates every 30 minutes “the best”.

“I found out that I had a staff meeting on Monday because of the radio. Otherwise, there was no way of getting any of that information out.”

While telecommunications have returned following Chapman’s marathon stint and colleagues arrived as backup, the notes have kept on coming.

“I’ve kept some because after this I’d like to think that I’m able to go and catch up with these people and just thank them. Just incredible notes, messages. I felt that everyone was important to somebody in its own way.”

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