Radio New Zealand is celebrating 60 years of international shortwave broadcasting.

On September 27, the Dominion Day holiday in 1948, New Zealand’s first international short-wave service was launched by Prime Minister Peter Fraser. It took the name ‘Radio New Zealand’ and was part of the New Zealand Broadcasting Service (NZBS).

The network has had a chequered history but, sixty years on, is stronger than ever, broadcasting today as Radio New Zealand International, an award winning, internationally recognised service, providing an essential link between New Zealand and its Pacific neighbours.

Today Radio New Zealand International is well respected and widely heard across the Pacific and into South East Asia. Eighteen Pacific radio stations re-broadcast Radio New Zealand International material each day and the service is available through digital and analogue short-wave, and via the internet.

In 2007 Radio New Zealand International won the prestigious International Radio Station of the Year Award at the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) Media Excellence Awards in London.

The AIB represents more than 25,000 public and commercial radio and television professionals worldwide and their annual awards recognise the very best in international broadcasting. Radio New Zealand International also won the award for Most Innovative Partnership, in recognition of its work with radio stations and media across the Pacific.

Radio New Zealand International Manager, Linden Clark, acknowledges the technological revolution that has allowed the network to achieve its current international recognition.

“From humble beginnings using two second hand transmitters US military transmitters left behind after the Second World War, the station has grown to become a significant international broadcaster using shortwave, digital and analogue technology which allows us to play a vital role in increasing understanding and awareness of New Zealand’s role in the Pacific.”

Anniversary celebrations this week will include a special programme to be broadcast on Radio New Zealand National at 12.20am on Saturday 27th September and at 9.06pm on Tuesday 30th September. This programme will also be broadcast on Radio New Zealand International throughout the week. It includes the opening announcement by the Prime Minister of the day, Peter Fraser, excerpts from early programmes and interviews with former and current staff.

Source Radio New Zealand International