Neha Patil (Editor)

Radio New Zealand

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1995 (1995)


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Preceding agencies
Radio New Zealand (SOE)New Zealand Broadcasting CorporationNational Broadcasting ServiceNew Zealand Broadcasting BoardRadio Broadcasting Company

Minister responsible
Craig Foss, Minister of Broadcasting



Radio New Zealand (Māori: Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa) is a New Zealand public service radio broadcaster and Crown entity formed by the Radio New Zealand Act 1995. It operates the news, current affairs, and arts network Radio New Zealand National and classical music and jazz network Radio New Zealand Concert with full government funding from New Zealand on Air. Since 2014, the organisation focuses increasingly on its production of digital content in audio, video and written forms.


The organisation plays a central role in New Zealand public broadcasting. Under law, it is responsible for the Radio New Zealand International Pacific shortwave service. It has a statutory role under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 to act as a lifeline utility in emergency situations. The Parliament of New Zealand also fully funds its AM Network, for the broadcast of Parliamentary proceedings.

Early years

Government-funded public service radio in New Zealand was historically provided by the Radio Broadcasting Company between 1925 and 1931, the New Zealand Broadcasting Board between 1931 and 1936, the National Broadcasting Service between 1936 and 1962, the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation between 1962 and 1975, and the Radio New Zealand state owned enterprise between 1975 and 1995. The organisation placed a strong emphasis on training its staff in Received Pronunciation, until it began promoting local and indigenous accents in the 1990s.

As part of the process of privatisation carried out by the fourth National government, the government's commercial radio operations were sold to private investors as The Radio Network and the government's non-commercial assets (known previously as New Zealand Public Radio) became the current Radio New Zealand Crown entity.

Later years

The broadcaster is bound by the Charter and Operating Principles included in the Radio New Zealand Act, which is reviewed by the Parliament of New Zealand every five years and was amended in 2004. The broadcaster is required to provoke debate and critical thought, reflect New Zealand and Māori cultural diversity, cater for varied ages and interests, promote music and drama and create a sense of national identity. It must operate a news service, an international shortwave service and an archiving programme.

It must also produce and commission high quality programming based on research of public needs, and balance mass appeal and minority appeal programming. In achieving these objectives, it must be socially and financially responsible.

Radio New Zealand National

Radio New Zealand National, formerly National Radio, is Radio New Zealand's general public service broadcaster. Flagship news and current affairs programmes Morning Report, Midday Report and Checkpoint total thirty hours every week and news updates are broadcast every hour. Its news service has specialist correspondents, reporters and a network of regional correspondents. Magazine programmes include a broad range of contributors, interviews, music pieces and dramas, with reports and regular features in English and Māori. The network provides coverage of science, politics, philosophy, religion, rural affairs, sports and other topics.

Radio New Zealand National broadcasts in AM and FM via mono terrestrial transmitters based around New Zealand and the Optus satellite. It is also available on Sky Digital TV channel 421, Freeview satellite channel 50, and in stereo on Freeview terrestrial channel 50. Radio New Zealand National claims a cumulative audience of 522,000 people, which would make it the most popular station in New Zealand. Its station share of 11% also makes it number one in terms of station share among people 15 and over. Many of Radio New Zealand National’s major programmes were No.1 in their timeslot during 2012

Radio New Zealand Concert

Radio New Zealand Concert is FM radio network broadcasting classical and jazz music and regular news updates. The network was previously known as Concert FM but the name was changed as part of a wider name change within Radio New Zealand to associate Concert FM with the Radio New Zealand brand.

The station broadcasts in FM stereo via terrestrial transmitters located around New Zealand, as well as from the Optus satellite. It is also available on Sky Digital TV channel 502, and on Freeview's satellite and terrestrial services on channel 51. Concert features four full-time continuity presenters (Rick Young, David Morriss, Christine Argyle and Clarissa Dunn) and several part-time and specialist presenters. The playlist is among the most diverse and eclectic of the world's state run classical music networks.

AM Network

The AM Network is a network of radio transmitters operated by Radio New Zealand which broadcast all sittings of the Parliament of New Zealand through a contract with the Parliament. Sitting hours are seasonal, and may be extended due to certain circumstances, but are generally 14:00 to 18:00 Tuesday to Thursday and 19:30 to 22:00 Tuesday and Wednesday. AM Network Parliamentary coverage is also streamed online, with podcasts and transcripts available.

To help fund the operation of the station, Radio New Zealand has leased the remaining hours to Christian broadcaster Rhema Broadcasting Group since 1997, which uses the frequencies to broadcast the low-budget easy listening Southern Star network. The transmitters were previously used by The Concert Programme before it moved to FM broadcasting.

Radio New Zealand International

Radio New Zealand International broadcasts on shortwave and DRM to neighbouring countries in the Pacific from transmitters located at Rangitaiki, near Taupo, in the North Island. There also is a relay via WRN Broadcast and a livestream on the internet.

Radio New Zealand News

Radio New Zealand's news centre is located in Wellington, and additional newsrooms are located in Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Hawkes Bay, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown. There is also a press gallery office in the Beehive, and several international correspondents.

Before 1996, the Radio New Zealand News service provided news to all commercial stations operated by Radio New Zealand as well as many independently owned stations. New owner The Radio Network launched its own news service. As of 2015, its primary output is via the Radio New Zealand website and hourly bulletins carried at various times by the National, International and Concert stations.

The news service is also responsible for most of Radio New Zealand National's schedule, including breakfast programme Morning Report, morning programme Nine to Noon, midday news programme Midday Report and drive programme Checkpoint. Morning Report includes half-hourly bulletins, voice reports, interviews and correspondent crosses. There are also scheduled in-depth bulletins of rural, sports, business and Te Manu Korihi Māori news, and news from around the Pacific. Midday Report consists entirely of specialist bulletins, while Checkpoint relies more heavily on reporters, correspondents and international BBC News and ABC News reports.

The Radio New Zealand website,, was launched in October 2005 and includes news coverage, programme information, online station streaming and podcasting. Radio New Zealand National, Radio New Zealand Concert, AM Network Parliament coverage, and Radio New Zealand International are available as Windows Media Audio streams. Almost all Radio New Zealand produced programmes (excepting some with music) are available back to Jan 2008, and have MP3 and Ogg Vorbis and download and podcasts options. However, some material is not available due to insufficient copyright clearances.

The website has been awarded the Qantas Media Award for Best Website Design in 2007, a New Zealand Open Source Award in 2008, and New Zealand Radio Award for Best Radio Website in 2009. The site was re-launched on 26 May 2013 with a new design and a custom CMS built using the open source Ruby On Rails framework.

The Wireless

In October 2013, Radio New Zealand launched the youth-focussed non-commercial website The Wireless. The website emerged from the push for a youth radio station as part of Radio New Zealand's offerings. Instead of creating a youth radio station, Radio New Zealand decided to create a website or online magazine that focused on 18- to 30-year-olds which would be more relevant to the demographic. Registration is optional, but is required for posting comments.

Project manager Marcus Stickley noted that: "Radio NZ has had the wisdom to recognize that it didn’t necessarily need to be under the Radio NZ brand. It needed to develop something specifically for that audience, and they’ve given us the freedom, to go away and figure out exactly how to do that." The CEO of Radio New Zealand commented in April 2014 that The Wireless is “the most exciting innovation from RNZ in recent years.”

Former commercial stations

Prior to 1996 Radio New Zealand operated a large number of commercial stations around New Zealand. These stations were typically local stations with their own local identity with the origin of many stations going back to the 1930s up until more recent stations created in the 1990s. In 1996 the New Zealand Government sold off all of their commercial stations to a syndicate that included United States radio company Clear Channel Communications and publisher Wilson & Horton, in New Zealand the new owner became known as The Radio Network.

The following stations were previously owned by Radio New Zealand, some listed stations were closed down before the 1996 sale and Gore radio station Radio Hokonui was sold privately in 1994.

Heritage Classic Hits and Newstalk ZB stations

All of the early local radio stations started by Radio New Zealand originally broadcast on an AM frequency. FM broadcasting did not begin in New Zealand until the 1980s. In the 1980s and early 1990s most stations listed below switched to an FM frequency but continued to broadcast on the original AM frequency. Some stations utilised the AM frequency for specialised shows such as local talkback, sports talk and local news shows. In 1993 the majority of these stations were split in two with the AM frequency used to broadcast Auckland based Newstalk ZB which was originally Auckland's 1ZB. The local station on the FM frequency adopted a common format and brand called Classic Hits with all stations retaining local programming under Radio New Zealand's operation.

  • Radio Northland Whangarei
  • Newstalk 1ZB Auckland (very first Newstalk ZB station, adopted talk format in 1987)
  • Classic Hits 97FM Auckland (very first Classic Hits station and originally 1ZM)
  • ZHFM Waikato
  • 95 BOP FM Tauranga
  • Geyserland FM Rotorua
  • Bay City Radio Hawkes Bay
  • Radio Taranaki Taranaki
  • 2ZA Palmerston North
  • 2ZB and B90FM Wellington (2ZB became Newstalk ZB, B90FM became Classic Hits B90)
  • Radio Nelson Nelson
  • 3ZB and B98FM Christchurch (3ZB became Newstalk ZB, B90FM became Classic Hits B98)
  • Radio Caroline Timaru
  • ZBFM Dunedin
  • 4ZA Southland
  • Community stations

    Radio New Zealand community stations operated in the heartland areas of New Zealand, typically these stations ran limited local programming such as a local breakfast show and at other times relayed a nearby station or relayed National Radio. Following the sale to The Radio Network most of these stations became part of the Community Radio Network with programming outside the breakfast show originating from Taupo. These stations later became part of the Classic Hits network in 2001.

  • Radio Forestland Tokoroa
  • King Country Radio Taumarunui
  • Radio Waitomo Te Kuiti
  • Lakeland FM Taupo
  • ZGFM Gisborne
  • River City FM Wanganui
  • Wairarapa FM Wairarapa
  • Radio Marlborough Marlborough
  • Scenicland FM West Coast
  • 3ZE Ashburton
  • Radio Waitaki Oamaru
  • 4ZG Radio Hokonui Gore (sold in 1994 to independent owner)
  • ZM stations

    Radio New Zealand operated a youth network of stations under the ZM brand with the three original stations being in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The Auckland station 1ZM changed format in 1987 to Classic Hits leaving just the Wellington and Christchurch stations. Since the sale to The Radio Network ZM has been expanded to a nationwide network based in Auckland.

  • 93ZM Whangarei
  • 91ZM Wellington
  • 91ZM Christchurch
  • Sports Roundup

    Sports Roundup was a network which conducted seasonal sports broadcasts in the main centres during the 1980s and 1990s, particularly used to broadcast Cricket matches in New Zealand. Following the sale to The Radio Network, Sports Roundup became known as Radio Sport.

    Other stations

  • 89X Auckland (purchased by Radio New Zealand in 1992, closed down 1993)
  • Rock 99 Rotorua (closed down 1996)
  • Classic Rock 96FM Hawkes Bay (replaced with ZM)
  • Classic Rock Q91FM Palmerston North (replaced with ZM)
  • References

    Radio New Zealand Wikipedia

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