Media of New Zealand

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Media of New Zealand
Newsrooms ONE News
3 News
Newstalk ZB News
New Zealand Herald
Fairfax New Zealand
RNZ News
Rhema News
Television Television New Zealand
MediaWorks New Zealand
Sky Network Television
Radio Radio New Zealand
The Radio Network
MediaWorks New Zealand
Rhema Broadcasting Group
Community Access
Newspapers The New Zealand Herald
Waikato Times
The Dominion Post
The Press
Otago Daily Times
Magazines New Zealand Listener
North & South

The media of New Zealand include television stations, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, films and websites. Mostly foreign-owned media conglomerates MediaWorks New Zealand, Australian Provincial Newspapers, The Radio Network, Sky Network Television and Fairfax New Zealand dominate this media landscape.[1] NZ On Air funds public service programming on the publicly owned Television New Zealand and Radio New Zealand, and on community-owned and privately owned broadcasters. Most media organisations operate Auckland-based newsrooms with Parliamentary Press Gallery reporters and international media partners, but most broadcast programmes, music and syndicated columns are imported from the United States and United Kingdom.

There is limited censorship in New Zealand of political expression, violence or sexual content, although strict libel laws follow the English model and contempt of court is severely punished. The Office of Film and Literature Classification classifies and sometimes censors films, videos, publications and video games, the New Zealand Press Council deals with print media bias and inaccuracy and the Broadcasting Standards Authority and Advertising Standards Authority considers complaints. However, Reporters Without Borders ranks New Zealand highly on press freedom, ranking it seventh-best worldwide in 2008, and eighth in 2010 (in the same 2010 study, for comparison, the UK placed 19th, and the US 20th).[2][3]

The media of New Zealand predominantly use New Zealand English, but World TV, Triangle TV, Stratos TV, Community Access and local Pacifica and Asia media organisations provide news and entertainment for linguistic minorities. The Waitangi Tribunal decided in the late 1980s that the Government had an obligation to nurture the Māori language and consequently Te Māngai Pāho now funds iwi radio stations, the Maori Television Service and other Maori programming on TVNZ, Radio New Zealand and TV3. MediaWorks operates two Auckland ex-iwi radio stations commercially with limited Maori content: commercial nationwide dance network George FM and hip-hop and R&B station Mai FM.


Television in New Zealand was introduced in 1960. Provision was first made for the licensing of private radio and television stations in New Zealand by the Broadcasting Act 1976. In addition to a legacy analogue network, there are three forms of broadcast digital television: satellite services provided nationwide by Freeview and Sky, a terrestrial service provided in the main centres by Freeview, and a cable service provided in Wellington and Christchurch by TelstraClear. There are currently 11 national free-to-air channels, 22 regional free-to-air stations and several pay TV networks. Programming and scheduling is done in Auckland where all the major networks are now headquartered.

The first nationwide digital TV service was launched in December 1998 by SKY TV, who had a monopoly on digital satellite TV until the launch of Freeview's nationwide digital Satellite service in May 2007. The Freeview terrestrial service, named Freeview|HD is a high definition digital terrestrial television service launched on 14 April 2008. The service currently serves areas surrounding Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier-Hastings, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin. Digital cable television currently operates in Wellington and Christchurch on TelstraClear's cable TV system. High Definition programming is available from Freeview on terrestrial broadcast only and on SKY TV through the MY SKY HDi decoder. Only a limited range of channels are available in High Definition.


New Zealand radio is dominated by twenty-seven networks and station-groups, but also includes several local and low-powered stations. Eight radio networks are operated by The Radio Network, ten are operated by MediaWorks New Zealand, three are operated by Rhema Broadcasting Group and three are operated non-commercially by Radio New Zealand. Most student networks belong to bNet, most public service broadcasters belong to Community Access Broadcasters, and there are several iwi radio stations.

Early radio[edit]

Call signs until 1988
Number – Letter – Letter
1: Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty
2: Taranaki, East Coast, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough
3: Canterbury, West Coast
4: Otago, Southland
(Station type)
X_: private station
YA: National
YC: Concert
Z_: public, commercial

Professor Robert Jack made the first broadcast in New Zealand from the University of Otago physics department on 17 November 1921.[4] The first radio station, Radio Dunedin, began broadcasting on 4 October 1922, but it was only in 1925 that the Radio Broadcasting Company (RBC) began broadcasts throughout New Zealand. In 1932, its assets were acquired by the government, which established the New Zealand Broadcasting Board (NZBB). This would later be replaced by the New Zealand National Broadcasting Service (NBS) and the National Commercial Broadcasting Service (NCBS). In the 1950s, these merged to become the New Zealand Broadcasting Service (NZBS), a government department. In 1962, this gave way to the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (NZBC), an independent public body modelled on the BBC in the UK.

Until the 1980s, stations used a series of call signs, consisting of a single digit and two letters (see left). In addition to YA National programme stations, YC Concert programme stations and a limited number of privately owned X stations, several stations were operated commercially by the government. In each region, the largest city was assigned a ZB station (1ZB Auckland, 2ZB Wellington, 3ZB Christchurch and 4ZB Dunedin) and a ZM music station (1ZM Auckland, 2ZM Wellington and 3ZM Christchurch). The Newstalk ZB and ZM brands continue to be used by The Radio Network. The second largest city was assigned a ZA station: 1ZA in Taupo, 2ZA in Palmerston North, 3ZA in Greymouth and 4ZA in Invercargill. In other towns and cities the final letter was assigned from the town or city name such as 4ZG in Gore and 1ZH in Hamilton. These ZA and other stations, also now owned by The Radio Network, have been rebranded as Classic Hits. 1YA, 2YK, 3AQ, 4YA were the first stations operating in the country's four main cities, and 5ZB was a mobile radio station broadcast in railway carriages during the 1940s.[5]

FM broadcasting[edit]

The United Kingdom and New Zealand until recently shared an FM broadcasting allocation of 88.0 – 105.0 MHz. This smaller allocation (less than 20 MHz [i.e.: 88 MHz – 108 MHz], typical of FM in the rest of the world) can be traced to the 405 line system's VHF allocation block. The UK adopted the 405 line system but NZ did not. NZ's allocation for FM remained smaller as if NZ had adopted the 405 line system. New Zealand considered adopting the 405 line system in the late 1950s to early 1960s but adopted PAL instead. This impacted the frequency allocation block for FM broadcasting making it smaller. New Zealand's FM frequency allocation issue was not fixed until the late 1990s, when the band was expanded to the full 20 MHz. Both New Zealand and the United Kingdom have the standard global allocation of 88.0 – 108.0 for FM now. NZ permits Radio Data System subcarriers, but their adoption is not universal. Radio NZ uses RDS for its FM network, but commercial radio's adoption of the technology is not universal.

The very first station to broadcast on FM in New Zealand was a temporary station in Whakatane called FM 90.7. The station ran from the 5 January 1982 until the 31 January 1982. The very first permanent station in New Zealand to broadcast on FM was Magic 91FM in Auckland broadcasting on 91.0FM followed by 89 Stereo FM broadcasting on 89.4FM. Both stations are no longer in operation; Magic 91 is the local Auckland frequency for ZM and 89 Stereo FM today broadcasts a simulcasted FM version of Newstalk ZB. Radio New Zealand started broadcasting on FM in the early 1980s[6] and most networks now broadcast on FM.

Networks and personalities[edit]

Network Personalities
Coast (40–59 AS) Brian Kelly (breakfast)
Murray Lindsay (daytime)
John "Boggy" McDowell (drivetime)
Nik Brown (weekends)
The Edge Mike Puru (breakfast)
Jay Jay Feeney (breakfast)
Dominic Harvey (breakfast)
Carl Thompson (breakfast)
Sharyn Casey (mornings)
Megan Slovak (afternoons)
Carl "Fletch" Fletcher (drivetime)
Vaughan Smith (drivetime)
Brad Watson (nights)
George FM Nick Dwyer (breakfast)
Kiwi FM Angelina Boyd (daytime), Wallace Chapman (drivetime), Fleur Jack (nights)
Life FM Burns (breakfast), Tash (breakfast)
Holly (daytime), Asher Bastion (drivetime), Clint (afternoons), Dan Goodwin (nights), George Penk (nights)
LiveSport (sports talk) Nathan Rarere (breakfast), Ian Smith (breakfast), Dean Lonergan (breakfast), Martin Devlin (breakfast)
James McOnie (morning), Richard Loe (morning)
Mai FM
Newstalk ZB (talk) Mike Hosking (breakfast), Leighton Smith (morning), Danny Watson (afternoon), Larry Williams (drive)
Murray Deaker (nights), Mark Watson (nights), Kerre Woodham (nights), Jack Tame (weekends)
Radio Live logo.svg
Radio Live (talk)
Marcus Lush (breakfast), Hilary Barry (breakfast)
Sean Plunket (mornings), Andrew Patterson (midday)
Willie Jackson (afternoons), John Tamihere (afternoons), Duncan Garner (drivetimes)
Karyn Hay (nights), Andrew Fagan (nights),
Tony Murrell (weekends), Helen Jackson (weekends), Graeme Hill (weekends)
Martin Devlin (weekends), Mike King (weekends)
RNZ National (talk all ages) Susie Ferguson (breakfast)
Guyon Espiner (breakfast)
Kathryn Ryan (Nine to Noon)
Simon Mercep (afternoon)
Jim Mora (afternoon)
Mary Wilson (drive)
Bryan Crump (nights)
Kim Hill (Saturdays)
Simon Morton (Saturdays)
Wallace Chapman (Sundays)
Lyn Freeman (Sundays)
The Rock FM

Print media[edit]

An early New Zealand printer used by CMS Paihia to publish Bibles during the 19th century.

Māori in New Zealand had non-literate culture before contact with the Europeans in the early 19th century, but oratory recitation of quasi-historical and hagiographical ancestral blood lines was central to the culture; oral traditions were first published when early 19th century Christian missionaries developed a written form of the Maori language to publish Bibles. The literature of New Zealand includes many works written in English and Maori by New Zealanders and migrants during the 20th and 21st centuries. Novelists include Patricia Grace, Albert Wendt and Maurice Gee; children's authors include Margaret Mahy.[7] Keri Hulme won the Booker Prize for The Bone People; Witi Ihimaera's novel Whale Rider, which dealt with Maori life in the modern world, ' became a Nikki Caro film. Migrant writers include South African-born Robin Hyde; expatriate writers like Dan Davin and Katherine Mansfield often wrote about the country. Samuel Butler stayed in New Zealand and set his novel Erewhon in the country. Karl Wolfskehl prepared works of German literature during a sojourn in Auckland. New Zealand's lively community of playwrights, supported by Playmarket, include Roger Hall.

The number of newspapers in New Zealand has dramatically reduced since the early 20th century as a consequence of radio, television and new media being introduced to the country. Auckland's New Zealand Herald serves the upper North Island, Wellington's The Dominion Post serves the lower North Island and Canterbury's The Press and Otago Daily Times serve the South Island. Provincial and community newspapers, such as the Waikato Times daily, serve particular regions, cities and suburbs. Ownership of New Zealand newspapers is dominated by Fairfax New Zealand and APN News & Media with Fairfax having 48.6% of the daily newspaper circulation.[1] Local and overseas tabloids and magazines cover food, current affairs, personal affairs, gardening and home decor, personal affairs and business or appeal to gay, lesbian, ethnic and rural communities.


Main article: Cinema of New Zealand

The New Zealand film industry is small but successful, boasting directors such as Peter Jackson and Jane Campion. The cinema of New Zealand includes many films made in New Zealand, made about New Zealand or made by New Zealand-based production companies. Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy was produced and filmed in New Zealand, and animation and photography for James Cameron's Avatar was primarily done in New Zealand; both films are among the highest grossing movies of all time. The New Zealand Film Commission funds films with New Zealand content.

Mainstream American, British and Australian films screen in theatres in most cities and towns. Some arthouse films and foreign language films reach cinemas, including weekly Bollywood screenings in many city cinemas. Asian films, particularly from India, China, Hong Kong and Japan, are widely available for rental on videocassette, DVD and similar media, especially in Auckland.

New media[edit]

Internet portals and news websites[edit]


New Zealand's blogosphere is a small community of around 600 blogs that comment on New Zealand politics, society and occurrences.[8] One list of over 200 "author-operated, public discourse" blogs in New Zealand (ranked according to traffic, links incoming, posting frequency and comments) suggests New Zealand blogs cover a wide range of ideological positions but a lack female contributors.[9] Some personal blogs have been around since the mid 1990s,[10][11][12][13] but there are now blogs about cities,[14][15] science,[16][17] law[18] and fashion magazines.[19][20][21] Political bloggers include current and former party apparatchiks such as David Farrar (Kiwiblog), Jordan Carter,[22] Peter Cresswell[23] and Trevor Loudon,[24] and journalists and commentators such as Russell Brown.[25]

New Zealand politicians and political groups operate blogs which, unlike overseas counterparts, allow comments. The former ACT party leader Rodney Hide often comments from within the House of Representatives[26] and Craig Foss operates a personal blog.[27] The Green Party expands on party press releases,[28] and Labour MPs discuss policy and Parliamentary business.[29] Blogging is a central campaigning tool for many political lobbying groups.[30][31][32][33] A 2007 New Zealand Herald article by Bill Ralston described political bloggers as being potentially the most powerful "opinion makers" in New Zealand politics.[34] A few weeks earlier the National Business Review had stated that, "Any realistic 'power list' produced in this country would include either [David] Farrar or his fellow blogger and opinion leader Russell Brown."[35] And in 2008 The Press said that year's election "could be the time when New Zealand's burgeoning political bloggers finally make their presence felt".[36] The article saw the increasing influence of the Internet (as opposed to television and radio) on people's lives and the number of professional journalists now maintaining blogs as the reason for the blogosphere's increased significance, alongside the fact that unlike newspapers blogs can link directly to facts and sources. The blogosphere has also make an impart on parliament – Russell Brown is quoted as saying, "Every now and then you see a line from the blog turn up in a parliamentary speech" and in December 2007 then prime minister Helen Clark accused political journalists of "rushing to judgment" on their blogs.[36]


Blogging in New Zealand has not been without controversy. Tim Selwyn, an Auckland man convicted of sedition in 2006, is also a prominent blogger, often bringing up controversial points. The pamphlet for which he was convicted and imprisoned on a charge of sedition was published on his website. Selwyn was also criticised in parliament for sending letters about his prison experiences to his co-blogger Martyn 'Bomber' Bradbury, who posted them on the blog. In August 2006, Sunday News revealed[37] a blog site set up by Wellington-based national socialist Nic Miller after personal details of four Jewish families living in the city were posted on it. The details were later removed from the site. On 23 December 2009, Cameron Slater was charged with five counts of breaching name suppression orders;[38] the charges relate to two blog posts that contained pictures which reveal the identities of two New Zealanders. On 11 January 2010, Slater published a blog post that used binary and hexadecimal code to reveal the identity of a person charged with indecent assault on a 13-year-old girl; the Nelson Bays police announced that they would investigate this further breach of New Zealand's name suppression laws.[39] On 1 June 2010, Dannevirke blogger Henk van Helmond was convicted of breaching a name suppression order and given a suspended sentence. The judge suppressed the publication of any details which might identify van Helmond's blog.[40]

In January 2007 another controversial blog, CYFS Watch, appeared. The blog's stated aim was unveiling examples of alleged incompetence by the Child Youth and Family Service (known by its acronym CYFS) of the Ministry of Social Development. The Ministry responded to the publication of the blog, which published the details of several social workers, by complaining to internet company Google. The blog remained online until 22 February 2007 when Google deleted the site, due to the blog's anonymous author making death threats towards Green MP Sue Bradford because of her Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill 2005.[41]

Relationship with other media[edit]

The majority of bloggers still rely upon the media for the provision of news stories to comment upon. However, they do not repeat the news, instead putting forward their viewpoint on it. The mainstream media at first was highly critical of bloggers. In January 2007 The New Zealand Herald printed an editorial that stated "[M]ost bloggers – and we're talking 95 per cent – are fly-by-night, gutless wonders who prefer to spit inarticulate venom under inarticulate pseudonyms."[42] Since then though the newspaper has picked up multiple stories first broken on blogs (see below). Some current and former bloggers have worked in or for the media industry, such as Russell Brown, Keith Ng, Tze Ming Mok and Dave Crampton. Political scientist Bryce Edwards (liberation) and Geoffrey Miller (Douglas to Dancing) have both written op-eds for The New Zealand Herald.[43][44]

There have been many notable examples of bloggers breaking news stories and then having the media pick it up. Idiot/Savant revealed that neither Rodney Hide nor Heather Roy had been showing up to Parliament and that the ACT party had therefore not voted in the 2006 budget debate, and The Dominion Post and The New Zealand Herald picked up the story.[45][46][47] In February 2008 a blog post by Russell Brown about the Wikipedia article on Bill English being edited from a computer at Parliament, based on a previous post at Labour Party-leaning blog The Standard, received coverage in The New Zealand Herald.[48][49][50] The NZBC blog reported a similar story of a computer at Air New Zealand being used to edit the Wikipedia article on Air New Zealand Flight 901 and it was picked up by The Press.[51][52] In April 2008, blogger David Farrar revealed the Green Party's preliminary party list, and the story was subsequently picked up by NZPA and published on[53][54] In June blogger 'Skinny' revealed that a photo used in promotional material about the 2008 budget was of an American family, not a New Zealand one and the story was then published in The New Zealand Herald.[55][56]


  1. ^ a b Rosenberg, Bill (13 September 2008). "News media ownership in New Zealand". Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  2. ^ "Only peace protects freedoms in post-9/11 world". Reporters Without Borders. 22 October 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2008. 
  3. ^ "2010 World Press Freedom Index". Reporters Without Borders. 20 October 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "Dashing heroes of a harbour crossing". Otago Daily Times. 6 September 2008. Retrieved 20 September 2008. 
  5. ^ "Centenary Celebrations". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "TVNZ FM Comes to NZ". YouTube. 1 March 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Swarbrick, Nancy (13 January 2009). "Creative life". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  8. ^ "The New Zealand Blogosphere". Kiwiology. 
  9. ^ "nz blogosphere". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "Joanna McLeod (1998)". Hubris. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  11. ^ "(1996)". Robyn Gallagher. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  12. ^ Aardvark Bruce Simpson (1995)
  13. ^ " search for 'personal blog'". 
  14. ^ "The Wellingtonista". The Wellingtonista. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  15. ^ "The Aucklandista". The Aucklandista. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Science media centre". Science media centre. 25 August 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  17. ^ "Sciblogs". Sciblogs. 25 August 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  18. ^ Stephen Marshall
  19. ^ "Thread". Thread. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  20. ^ "NZ Girl". NZ Girl. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  21. ^ "Fashion NZ". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  22. ^ "Just Left". 18 July 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  23. ^ "Not PC". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  24. ^ "New Zeal". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  25. ^ Cactuslab. "Public Address". Public Address. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
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  27. ^ 16 hours ago. "personal blog". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  28. ^ frogblog. "Frogblog". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  29. ^ "Red Alert". 15 August 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  30. ^ "Climaction". 10 December 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  31. ^ COG
  32. ^ "Social Aotearoa". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  33. ^ Tariq Ali. "". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  34. ^ "Bill Ralston: Public opinion on Key turns rabid". The New Zealand Herald. 7 October 2007. 
  35. ^ Ben Thomas and David W Young (20 September 2007). "Politicians will be haunted by their past on internet". National Business Review. Retrieved 21 September 2007. 
  36. ^ a b "Bloggers left and right". The Press. 16 February 2008.  (archive copy)
  37. ^ Sunday News. August 2006,2106,3763198a15596,00.html |url= missing title (help). 
  38. ^ "Blogger to Defend Suppression Breach Charges". The New Zealand Herald. 26 December 2009. 
  39. ^ Adams, Christopher (12 January 2010). "Blogger in trouble again for naming ex-MP in teen sex case". The New Zealand Herald. 
  40. ^ Michelle Duff (1 June 2010). "Blogger guilty of breach". Manawatu Standard. p. 1. 
  41. ^ Collins, Simon (22 February 2007). "Google shuts down Cyfswatch website". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  42. ^ "Big Blogger Is Watching" The New Zealand Herald (27 January 2007)
  43. ^ "Bryce Edwards: Backdoor funding affects democracy". The New Zealand Herald. 14 September 2006. 
  44. ^ "Geoffrey Miller: Act's dilemma – what's in a name?". The New Zealand Herald. 12 March 2008. 
  45. ^ "No Right Turn". 15 August 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  46. ^ "No Right Turn: Where's Rodney?". 22 May 2006. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  47. ^ "Hide defends dance defection – National – NZ Herald News". The New Zealand Herald. 26 May 2006. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  48. ^ Cactuslab (28 February 2008). " • Hard News • Public Address". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  49. ^ "Blogger targets 'political' editing of Wikipedia in Beehive". The New Zealand Herald. 28 February 2008. 
  50. ^ "Bills Wikipedia Edits". The Standard. 27 February 2008. 
  51. ^
  52. ^ "Erebus article censor found at Air NZ". The Press. 21 August 2007. 
  53. ^ "Blogger reveals initial Green Party list". Stuff. New Zealand. 4 April 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  54. ^ "Green Party List". 3 April 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  55. ^ Labour and the ‘typical’ New Zealand family
  56. ^ Gay, Edward (11 June 2008). "US photographer surprised at Labour using his happy family picture". The New Zealand Herald. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]