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Radio Waatea

There’s a view that often comes up, especially around election time. It relates to the South Auckland community and it goes something like - South Auckland is the sickest, dumbest and one of the most dishonest communities in Aotearoa. Where the hell did that come from - you may well ask?

If you listened to the bulk of advertising on Radio Waatea, you’d probably get a similar impression.

There are radio ads around smoking, diabetes, influenza, rheumatic fever, and domestic violence. Sure there’s the odd recruitment drives for EFTS from various tertiary institutions, but after that, there are very few positive messages coming to Waatea by way of advertising.

That’s not a criticism aimed at our advertising agency MMN mind you. The point I’m trying to make here is the “growth sector” according to those in control of advertising and communication spending (whether it be government or retail) is based on all those poverty driven kaupapa that leads to all kinds of dysfunctional issues in our communities.

One of the most prevalent, intense and somewhat un-heralded industries in South Auckland and West Auckland/Waitakere is research.

The work done here goes largely unnoticed, until the results are released that is. It’s a burgeoning industry here in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Surveys and research commissioned by the government and similar organisations, generally outsiders, continue to tell us just how bad our neighbourhoods are, and how Māori statistics continue to make for abysmal reading.

We here at Waatea continually look forward to the next report which will basically tell us the same thing as previous years except the publication dates will have changed.

Once the findings of these reports are released and the media coverage kicks in we are then told by politicians, social commentators and experts just how high a health risk we are because of the latest research around health statistics, how dumb we are because the poor results around academic achievement and how dangerous we are because the crime statistics continue to demonstrate just what a really violent, angry dysfunctional lot we all are.

These are the challenges which face our communities in Tamaki Makaurau every day. The issues that bombard them every day and the reasons our neighbourhoods have taken up a siege mentality when it comes to dealing with the media. Sure there are problems and sure there are dysfunctionality issues which can all be traced back to poverty.

But no one sees the community potential, the community spirit and most of all the community strength.

More than ever the role of Radio Waatea is crucial as a community watchdog and communication hub that ensures our people are portrayed fairly in a balanced fashion and not marginalised as they always seem to be in mainstream media.

Like many iwi stations Waatea’s role is more than a station that broadcasts te reo Māori. It plays a vital role in providing a voice for Māori, promoting a Māori perspective and positioning itself as a community hub, broadcasting all sorts of important information to connect Māori communities living in Tāmaki Makaurau.

To a large degree the stations format has always been determined by the communities it serves along with the key stakeholders of Waatea, Te Whānau aa Waipareira and Manukau Urban Māori Authority.

The past 8 months has seen the station following the same guidelines around providing a Māori perspective on all issues affecting Māori and promoting te reo me ona tikanga with its inclusive bilingual platforms. Note the plural whānau when I mention platform(s), it’s not just the radio station that makes people sit up straight and pay attention, we’re going hard, online now with waateanews.com, it’s part of our big plan to take over the world.

Anyway back to the station format, we know that we need to be all things to everyone and our Waatea team are always on the lookout for kaupapa which resonates with our listeners. As much as we can we try to be at the coalface of where it all happens for our people

For one thing we opened up a new satellite studio in West Auckland/Waitakere which gives the opportunity for our Te Whānau aa Waipareira roopu to promote their services and key issues on air, live and direct from their Whānau Ora house.

The studio is located on the ground floor of their Wai Health office building in Henderson.

There’s a couple of hour long programmes that are broadcast from here every Tuesday. The first is The Waipareira Hour hosted by Brent Mio who is a Westie. He talks with Waipareira whanau about a variety of issues, which are all part of Te Whanau aa Waipareira’s mahi at a flax roots level. We also have our weekly hauora programme (like every other iwi station) broadcasting out of our West Auckland studio which is looked after by one of our hauora Māori partners Hāpai Te Hauora hosted by Tū McLean and the hauora team. The hour long program is called Hāpai. 

We’re running a weekly programme around sorting out and managing your money which sees us working with the Commission of Financial Literacy and one of the commissioners in there, is our cuzzy from Te Arawa and Ngāti Maniapoto Zella Morrison. The program is called Money Sorted.

Money Sorted takes the view that Māori and money don’t necessarily make a good mix, and if you agree to that statement then this program has tremendous value for those whanau who want to get ahead in life. Money Sorted addresses budgeting, retirement and kiwi saver schemes, and issues like saving for a rainy day.

We still have our mana wahine program with Ngāroimata Reid, which is called - wait for it: Ngāroimata. The program isn’t just about women’s issues, but more about viewing the world and all it is has to offer from a Māori woman’s perspective. Ngāroimata is currently doing the rounds in Māori radio talking to those wāhine who are either working or have been previously involved in iwi radio. There are some amazing stories there, talking about the blood sweat and tears shed by our māreikura working in iwi radio.

Well that’s our mid-morning shows done and dusted. If you haven’t already guessed, this timeslot from 10am - noon weekdays is dedicated to talk-based information type programmes and every day sees something different. From Paakiwaha on Mondays through to talkback with Radio Te Arawa on Fridays. 

There’s something for everyone, with Waatea trying to make a difference by bringing our people to the airwaves.

We still have of course our flagship Breakfast Show with Dale Husband, aptly named: Breakfast with Dale, weekdays 7am - 10am - and we welcomed a new host, Jenny May Coffin on her new drive time show. And guess what we’ve called it...The Jenny May Drive! J May (yeh boyee) presents an ecclectic mix of old skool, waiata Māori, contemporary waiata along with a whole bunch of interesting interviews from our whanaunga we usually see and hear on mainsteram media. The likes of 6 oclock news anchor Simon Dallow, news presenter Greg Boyd, Māori sports stars like Corey Jane, Miah Messian, Lisa Carrington, Billy Joe Hohepa to name a few. Sorry about the name dropping buzz, just saying.

Community Engagement wise we’ve done some cool stuff this year with Te Pou Matakana 2 day coverage with our stakeholders Te Whānau aa Waipareira and MUMA. The event was held in Mangere and the turnout from Māori whanau ora providers was impressive. We’re also working closely with Ngā Kura Tapuwae media students and other smaller Māori organisations from throughout the region.

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