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NZ On Air 30th Birthday

Issue date: 
Tuesday, 16 July 2019
The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, CVO, QSO

Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Nau mai, haere mai ra ki Te Whare Kawana o Tamaki Makaurau.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all, and welcome to Government House Auckland.

I specifically acknowledge the Honourable Kris Faafoi, Dr Ruth Hartley, and Jane Wrightson.

It’s a privilege to host this special birthday bash for NZ On Air at Government House. Happy 30th birthday!

David and I both have some insight into the joys and challenges of audio-visual production in Aotearoa New Zealand, and we’re immensely proud our talented screen sector.

Some of us here tonight remember the days – not so very long ago – when there was a certain level of cultural cringe about New Zealand accents and storylines on screen, not to mention in songs on the radio.

NZ On Air, by enabling the production of New Zealand content, has played a unique role in normalising that content and turning those attitudes around.

Generations of New Zealanders now embrace the opportunity to see and hear their stories and music, and more people have been encouraged to become involved in cultural production themselves.

When NZ On Air was established by the Broadcasting Act in 1989:

the internet was just arriving on our shores;

TV3 was about to launch;

TVNZ (TV One and TV2) and Radio New Zealand were unfolded from the BCNZ and turned into SOEs;

there were five community access radio stations;

there was a voluntary quota on commercial radio to play 10 percent local music;

the majority of TV production was undertaken in-house by TVNZ;

and a mobile device you could slip in your pocket was the stuff of science fiction.

Thirty years later, NZ On Air is clearly operating in a vastly different environment:

NZ On Air content is available on at least 30 platforms;

There’s a thriving music-production industry for screen content and music;

Commercial radio plays between 15 and 20 percent local music;

and there are programmes in more than 49 languages on 12 access radio stations.

In supporting local content, NZ On Air has supported the people who produce that precious content.

And they in turn have helped us all to reflect on our changing place in the world.

If I were to pick one programme that illustrates that process, honourable mention would have to go to Country Calendar, a constant fixture in my lifetime.

It’s fair to say that Country Calendar has morphed over the years into a celebration of sustainable and responsible farming practices, while highlighting efforts to conserve and restore natural ecosystems in the rural sector.

It’s just one example of the power of the media to achieve public good through entertainment and education, at a time when we are facing significant challenges in our environment.

When 25 percent of New Zealanders were not born here, and we have one of the most multicultural societies on the planet, there are  new challenges and opportunities for NZ On Air to meet its vision of connecting and reflecting our nation with content ‘by, for and about’ ourselves.

I wish everyone at NZ On Air all the very best with their efforts to meet that goal, and extend my best wishes to all the talented and committed people who bring our NZ On Air funded content into being.

Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.



Last updated: 
Wednesday, 17 July 2019

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