Established in 1995 as a crown entity, Radio New Zealand is the only commercial-free public service broadcaster in the country and is a key international broadcaster in the South Pacific.

Its relatively young age belies the extent of Radio NZ’s reach. Its three national networks include Radio New Zealand National, broadcasting a mix of music, current affairs, drama and documentaries; Radio New Zealand Concert, which airs classical music as well as jazz, contemporary and world genres; and its AM network which broadcasts parliamentary proceedings.

RNZRadio New Zealand International broadcasts in digital and shortwave across the Pacific, with content relayed via 20 radio stations. Its reach is further bolstered by the World Radio Network and the BBC Pacific Service which airs RNZI material such as its Dateline Pacific current affairs programme.

Radio NZ’s charter is renewed every five years and enshrines the broadcaster’s public remit of providing an “innovative, comprehensive and independent” service, in keeping with New Zealand’s multicultural population, while maintaining a regional perspective. According to its own audience research, more than 85% of New Zealanders think that it is important for the country to have a public service radio broadcaster, while 80% believe that Radio NZ provides a valuable service.

Radio NZ is not funded by a licence fee, which was abolished in 1999. Instead it is publicly funded by the New Zealand Government through its broadcast funding agency, NZ On Air. With funding provided at ‘arms length’, Radio NZ is better able to maintain its independence and has relatively secure funding, unlike Television New Zealand, which although government-owned, has to rely on commercial activity for 95% of its revenue.

The broadcaster has placed increasing emphasis on its online services in recent years. In 2013, Radio New Zealand launched a youth-focused ‘magazine’ website called The Wireless. Aimed at 18-30-year-olds, the project is designed to engage youth audiences with multiplatform public media content. Original current affairs, culture and news stories are written and recorded by young contributors, while registered users are encouraged to comment and contribute to the debate.

Year established: 1995

Digital standard: DVB-T2

Web address:

Full member: True

Main funding source: Government of New Zealand