Enhanced future focus for RNZ

26 May 2023
RNZ is starting a new chapter with a strengthened purpose as Aotearoa’s non-commercial public media organisation. Our vision is to provide outstanding public media that matters.
Wellington New Zealand - February 9 2020: Sign on building of Radio New Zealand, which is the main public broadcaster in radio, providing commercial-free radio. Credit: Jon lyall/Shutterstock

This press release was originally published on RNZ and is republished with permission.

RNZ’s Chief Executive and Editor in Chief Paul Thompson says the Charter will provide the organisation’s North Star.

“As Aotearoa’s public broadcaster we are focused on delivering our Charter more effectively and building public trust with high quality news, information and entertainment.

“We will soon receive increased baseline funding that will enable us to strengthen current services while developing new audience experiences for New Zealanders.

“We are also acutely aware of the challenges facing the entire media system and we want to help support a healthy sector through collaboration and innovation. The new RNZ Asia service is a good example of how we will contribute, as is the Local Democracy Reporter service that we facilitate to support regional news coverage.”*

The funding increase includes significant support for RNZ’s core public media services, new projects and $1.7m for AM transmission.

The importance of a resilient AM network across Aotearoa was underlined following the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle, with AM radio the only news source for many in the immediate aftermath. Ensuring RNZ can keep people reliably informed during and immediately after a crisis remains a priority.

“The New Zealand news agenda in 2023 has been dominated by adverse weather events. We provide a trusted information lifeline that is becoming increasingly important,” Thompson says.

In addition to the team of journalists on the ground on the East Coast immediately after Cyclone Gabrielle, RNZ journalists Kate Green and Lauren Crimp have been seconded to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti for a year to provide comprehensive coverage of the cyclone recovery and other key events in the region.

RNZ has once again been named the most trusted media organisation in Aotearoa in the AUT research centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy Trust in News in Aotearoa New Zealand report (first equal with TVNZ and Otago Daily Times). Recent digital results have reinforced the fact that New Zealanders continue to turn to RNZ for trusted news and information in a crisis, with significant spikes in radio streaming and website traffic around major news events.

Planning is underway for comprehensive coverage of the General Election across RNZ’s radio and digital platforms, utilising RNZ’s talented journalists, presenters and producers and external experts to provide election news and stories relevant to all New Zealanders.

As RNZ looks to the future, work is ongoing with the Board and kaimahi to prioritise areas for investment. The Strategy, Statement of Intent and Statement of Performance Expectations for the new financial year beginning 1 July are currently being finalised. Once confirmed, these documents will be published on

* The RNZ Asia Unit and Local Democracy Reporter projects are Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.

Key results

Digital results
  • On average 872,000 people 15+ accessed the RNZ website per month between January and April 2023 (Neilsen).
  • There were 698,000 live radio stream users on, an increase of 16% compared to 2022, while 3.1 million audio streams (bulletins, stories or podcasts) were served via  The RNZ mobile app recorded 150,000 users an increase of 9% compared to 2022.

Extreme weather events January – February 2023
The peak number of live radio stream users during Cyclone Gabrielle (107,000) was the highest number ever recorded for a 24-hour period, peaking more than four times higher than on an average day in 2023. The number of live radio stream users was more than three times higher than average during the North Island floods (67,000 compared to 20,000 on an average day in 2023).

Visitors to the website and audio streams also increased by 130% during these major weather events, while mobile app users increased by 50%.

Radio results

RNZ radio numbers remain steady

  • In a typical week, 678,200 New Zealanders aged 10+ listen to RNZ National and RNZ Concert, up from 678,000 from the previous survey.
  • RNZ National’s audience 10+ is 557,300 in a typical week, down from 572,000 (-2.6%) compared to the previous survey.
  • In a typical week, 210,200 New Zealanders aged 10+ listen to RNZ Concert, an increase of 9,800 (+5%) compared to the last survey.
  • RNZ’s share of all radio audiences in New Zealand has decreased slightly, with both RNZ National and RNZ Concert down by 0.3 percentage points. The total share across RNZ National and RNZ Concert is 13.9%.
  • The number of listeners to all radio across Aotearoa increased slightly to 3,651,200 from 3,640,200 listeners, up 0.3% on the previous survey.

New York Festivals Radio Awards

RNZ Concert’s recording of Ka Pō Ka Ao by Rob Ruha and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra received a gold award for best live sound in the craft section at the prestigious New York Festivals Radio Awards. The concert was produced to celebrate Aotearoa’s first Matariki public holiday. Jude Dobson’s history documentary NZ Aviators look back to their experience of the Second World War received a bronze award and TAHI’s The Elephant in the Bedroom was a finalist for Best Personal Lives podcast.

Voyager Media Awards

RNZ has 14 finalists in the Voyager Media Awards to be announced tomorrow evening, including in the Best News Website and News App sections.  In Depth Data Journalist Farah Hancock is a finalist in four categories, and Guyon Espiner is up for two feature writer awards.

NZ Radio Awards

RNZ has 27 finalists in the NZ Radio Awards which will be presented on 1 June with finalists across presenter, journalist, programme and podcast/documentary categories.

RNZ’s previous award wins and current nominations are available at


RNZ is a member of the Public Media Alliance.