Iwi radio in the era of media convergence: The opportunities and challenges of becoming ‘more than radio.’

  • Rufus McEwan Auckland University of Technology
Keywords: broadcasting, indigenous media, Māori media, media convergence, New Zealand, radio, te reo Māori


Operating for the past 30 years, New Zealand’s 'iwi radio' stations broadcast a mixture of te reo Māori and English language programming throughout the country. The 21 stations that presently operate were established as a strategy to improve upon the severe decline in the indigenous language. As radio stations, each initiative also affords individual Māori groups some autonomy in the mediated protection and promotion of indigenous identity. Collectively represented by Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori, the iwi stations stand apart from the highly-consolidated mainstream commercial and public service sectors, but are now similarly confronted with the challenge of a rapidly changing media landscape. Utilising convergence as a prominent, albeit contentious, descriptor of media transformation, this article analyses the response of the iwi radio sector to convergence processes. Initiatives that include the integration of web and social media and the establishment of a networked switching platform to share iwi content highlight parallel opportunities and challenges for the iwi radio stations as they strive to become ‘more than radio’ on limited resourcing. This discussion highlights the experiences of radio practitioners tasked with the preservation and progress of indigenous voices in an era of convergence, providing further contextual insight into contemporary accounts of media transformation, radio and Māori media.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Barclay, K. (2016, October 9). Hui-a-tau: Jane Wrightson & Larry Parr talk change. screenz. Retrieved from http://www.screenz.co.nz

Benkler, Y. (2006). The wealth of networks. New Haven, London, UK: Yale University Press.

Berry, R. (2006). Will the iPod kill the radio star? Profiling podcasting as radio. Convergence: The international journal of research into new media technologies, 12(2), 143—162. doi: 10.1177/1354856506066522

Berry, R. (2013). Radio with pictures: Radio visualisation in BBC national radio. The Radio Journal: International studies in broadcast and audio media. 11(2),169-184. doi: 10.1386/rjao.11.2.169_1

Bruns, A. (2008). Blogs, Wikipedia, second life, and beyond: From production to produsage. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Cordeiro, P. (2012). Radio becoming r@dio: Convergence, interactivity and broadcasting trends in perspective. Participations: Journal of audience and reception studies. 9(2), 492-510.

de Bruin, J. & Mane, J. (2018). Indigenous radio and digital media: Tautoko FM’s national and transnational audiences. The Radio Journal: International studies in broadcast and audio media. 16(2), 127-14. doi: 10.1386/rjao.16.2.127_1

Dubber, A. (2013). Radio in the digital age. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. (2012). Convergence review: Final report. Australian Government Report. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/1339_convergence.pdf

Genders, A. (2018). Radio as a screen medium in BBC arts broadcasting. Journal of Radio & Audio Media. 25(1), 142-155. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/19376529.2017.1415343

Hendy, D. (2000). Radio in the global age. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Hilmes, M. (2013). The new materiality of radio: Sound on screens. In J. Loviglio & M. Hilmes (Eds.). Radio’s new wave (pp. 43-61). New York, NY: Routledge.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York, NY; London, UK: New York University Press.

Joyce, Z. (2008). Creating order in the ceaseless flow: The discursive constitution of the radio spectrum. [PhD Thesis]. University of Auckland.

Lacey, K. (2018). Up in the air? The matter of radio studies. The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media. 16(2), 109-126. doi: 10.1386/rjao.16.2.109_1

Lindgren, M. & Phillips, G. (2014). Radio reinvented: the enduring appeal of audio in the digital age. Australian Journalism Review. 36(2), 5-9.

Mahuta, N. (2018, October 16). Future focussed review of Māori media sector. [Press Release]. Retrieved from https://www.beehive.govt.nz

Mane, J. (2014). He reo tautoko: A history of iwi radio broadcasting. In R. Higgins, P. Rewi & V. Olsen-Reeder (Eds.). The value of the Māori language: Te hua o te reo Māori (pp. 319-330). Wellington, NZ: Huia Publishers.

Manhire, T. (2016, September 23). One pot to fund them all: a glance at NZ On Air’s dramatic overhaul of funding. The Spinoff. Retrieved from http://www.thespinoff.co.nz

Mansell, R. (2004). Political economy, power and new media. New media & society, 6(1), 74-83. doi: 10.1177/1461444804039910

Markman, K. M. (2011). Doing radio, making friends, and having fun: Exploring the motivations of independent podcasters. New Media and Society, 14(4), 547-565. doi: 10.1177/1461444811420848

Matamua, R. (2006). Te Reo Pāho: Māori radio and language revitalisation. [PhD Thesis]. Massey University.

Matamua, R. (2014). Te Reo Pāpāho me te Reo Māori—Māori broadcasting and te reo Māori. In R. Higgins, P. Rewi & V. Olsen-Reeder (Eds.). The value of the Māori language: Te hua o te reo Māori (pp. 331-348). Wellington, NZ: Huia Publishers.

McChesney, R. (1999). Rich media, poor democracy: Communication politics in dubious times. Urbana; Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.

McLachlan, L. (2016, February 23). Iwi radio told to get digital. Radio New Zealand. Retrieved from http://www.rnz.co.nz

Meikle, G & Young, S. (2012) Media convergence: Networked digital media in everyday life. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mill, A. (2005). Māori radio industry: The foundation of te reo Māori broadcasting. In K. Neill & M. Shanahan (Eds.). The great New Zealand radio experiment (pp. 195-214). Southbank, VIC: Thomson Dunmore Press.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage. (2015). Exploring digital convergence: Issues for policy and legislation. New Zealand Government Discussion Paper. Retrieved from https://mch.govt.nz/sites/default/files/Exploring Digital Convergence Issues for Policy and Legislation (D-0740630).pdf

Mosco, V. (2004). The digital sublime: myth, power, and cyberspace. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Murdock, G. & Golding, P. (2002). Digital possibilities, market realities: The contradictions of communications convergence. Socialist Register, 38, 111-129. Retrieved from http://socialistregister.com

Negroponte, N. (1995). Being digital. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

O’Carroll, A. D. (2013). Kanohi ki te kanohi—A thing of the past? Examining the notion of ‘virtual’ ahikā and the implications for kanohi ki te kanohi. Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health. 11(3), 441-445. Retrieved from https://journalindigenouswellbeing.com

Oliveira, M., Stachyra, G. & Starkey, G. (Eds.). (2013). Radio: The resilient medium. Sunderland, UK: University of Sunderland.

Rheingold, H. (2000). The virtual community: homesteading on the electronic frontier (Revised Edition). Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press.

Smith, J. (2016). Māori Television: The first ten years. Auckland: Auckland University Press.

Statistics NZ. (2013). Iwi individual profile: Ngāti Porou. 2013 Census. Retrieved from http://archive.stats.govt.nz

Stiernsedt, F. (2014). The political economy of the radio personality. Journal of Radio & Audio Media. 21(2), 290-306. doi:10.1080/19376529.2014.950152.

Swarbrick, N. (2015, July 9). Waikato region—Māori settlement. Te Ara—the encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved from https://teara.govt.nz/en/map/27069/tribes-of-tainui

Te Puni Kokiri. (N.D.) Questions and answers about Te Mātāwai. Retrieved from https://www.tpk.govt.nz

Te Māngai Pāho. (2014). Te Māngai Pāho annual report for the year ended 30 June 2014. Retrieved from https://www.tmp.govt.nz/accountability-documents

Te Māngai Pāho. (2015). Te Māngai Pāho annual report for the year ended 30 June 2015. Retrieved from https://www.tmp.govt.nz/accountability-documents

Te Māngai Pāho. (2017). Sharing re ao Māori with the world: Te Māngai Pāho annual report 2016/17. Retrieved from https://www.tmp.govt.nz/accountability-documents

Te Māngai Pāho. (2017b) Māori audience survey 2017. [Industry Report]. Prepared by Kantar TNS. Retrieved from https://www.tmp.govt.nz/research-documents

Te Māngai Pāho. (2018). Sharing te ao Māori with the world: Te Māngai Pāho annual report 2017/18. Retrieved from https://www.tmp.govt.nz/accountability-documents

Zukina, I. (2010, August 1). AVC-Group jumps on the PungaNet. RadioWorld. Retrieved from http://www.avc-group.eu/downloads/referenzen/2.pdf

PJR icon
How to Cite
McEwan, R. (2019). Iwi radio in the era of media convergence: The opportunities and challenges of becoming ‘more than radio.’. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 25(1&2), 139-157. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjr.v25i1.469