Situated on the northwest tip of New Zealand’s north island, and home to the historically significant Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the Northland region is to receive a funding boost to strengthen its AM broadcasting infrastructure.
New Zealand’s Minister of Broadcasting and Media, Willie Jackson, and Minister for Emergency Management, Kieran McAnulty, have announced a NZD$1.48 million package to fund the repair and replacement of three transmission masts in Northland to ensure AM radio can stay on air in the region.
“This funding will secure the reinstatement of the Waipapakauri mast, which services Far North communities, and replace the masts at Ōtaika and Ōhaeawai which are on their last legs,” Willie Jackson said. “This will ensure that Northland communities retain their access to AM transmission in areas that are not serviced by FM frequencies.
“RNZ has already completed work to reinstate the Waipapakauri mast, which went back on air today.”
Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty said radio is a critical information channel to help reach New Zealanders in an emergency.
“When emergencies happen, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and local Civil Defence Groups work with the media to issue warnings and other critical information. We rely on radio as our number one emergency info channel as it is the most resilient and widely available form of public communication.
“Northland is especially reliant on AM radio due to its remote and rugged terrain, its exposure to hazards like tsunamis, and limited access to cellular service and other information sources,” Kieran McAnulty said.
Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, NEMA, and RNZ are collaborating to develop criteria for future decisions about other AM sites to make sure communities are able to stay connected and access critical warnings and guidance in emergencies.