Yesterday, Radio New Zealand celebrated 30 years of service to the Pacific. Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Jason Walker and Peter Marks for sharing the following story and audio from Radio New Zealand:
On 24 January 1990, Radio New Zealand International beamed into the Pacific, on a new 100 kilowatt transmitter.
New Zealand has had a short-wave service to the Pacific since 1948. The station broadcast on two 7.5kw transmitters from Titahi Bay, which had been left behind by the US military after the Second World War.
In the late 1980s, following growing political pressure to take a more active role in the Pacific area, the New Zealand government upgraded the service.
A new 100kw transmitter was installed and, on the same day the Commonwealth Games opened in Auckland, the service was re-launched as Radio New Zealand International.
“What we were able to understand was how important radio was and still is in the Pacific, where as here radio had become a second cousin to television… different thing in most of the countries we worked with,” said RNZ International’s first manager was Ian Johnstone, from 1990 to ’93.
Mr Johnstone said news of a dedicated Pacific service into the region was welcomed by Pacific communities.
He also said it was important for New Zealanders to remember that New Zealand is part of the Pacific.[…]