Media Releases

RNZ 2021: New and Coming Soon

Released at 10:00 am on 18 January 2021

RNZ's regular on-air schedule resumes next Monday 25 January, after a month of summer programming.

In 2020, more New Zealanders than ever tuned in to RNZ on-air and online*, continuing to enhance RNZ’s reputation as a leading multi-platform media service. 

This year, RNZ National and RNZ Concert listeners will hear more of the on-air programming and presenters they know and love, and the RNZ digital offering will expand with more podcasts, video series and long reads from the In Depth investigations team. As ever, news is at the heart of RNZ, delivering round-the-clock coverage on-air and online, covering the big stories of the day from politics to health and major events like the America’s Cup. 

Nathan Rarere (Rongomaiwahine) is a key appointment for 2021, as the new host of 5-6am weekday show First Up with Nathan Rarere, with Ellie Jay as the back-up presenter. Nathan became a regular contributor to the show in mid-2020, and acting host from October 2020, before being appointed the permanent host from the start of 2021.

Pip Keane (Editor Multi-Media Programmes) says Nathan’s broadcasting experience in television and radio offers a refreshing take on early morning news and current affairs inside and outside the RNZ studio.

“Nathan is the ideal personality to host First Up – he’s comfortable behind both a radio mic and camera, has a keen interest in news and current affairs along with the Pacific, and his experience in sports broadcasting will be a real boost for us in Olympic year. His commitment to getting up at stupid o’clock combined with a seriously great sense of humour is a bonus that makes him an asset to the early morning team.”

On Waitangi Day (Saturday 6 February) the Ngāpuhi duo of Julian Wilcox and Māni Dunlop (Midday Report host and RNZ’s Māori News Director) will broadcast live from the Waitangi Treaty Grounds from 8am until midday.

Te Aniwa Hurihanganui (Te Arawa, Rangitāne) joins the In Depth team in February to focus on issues relating to Te Ao Māori. Te Aniwa was the recipient of the first RNZ Henare te Ua Māori Journalism Internship and has been a Māori news reporter with RNZ since 2018. RNZ’s In Depth team has delivered many important stories and investigations since its formation in (year), including Guyon Espiner’s recent high profile investigations on prison welfare, epilepsy drugs and the New Zealand First Foundation.

RNZ Pacific is a key news source in the Pacific region, and is vital to many isolated communities during the tropical cyclone season - for example during Cyclone Yasa late last year. The RNZ Pacific Cyclone Watch service is currently in operation, gathering and broadcasting updates from regional meteorological services, local authorities, Non-Governmental Organisations and affected people. RNZ Pacific broadcasts in digital and short wave to 20 radio stations across the Pacific, as well as providing programmes on RNZ National and an extensive online presence. RNZ Pacific journalists specialise in Pasifika issues in Aotearoa and the region, providing a comprehensive news service and analysis of current affairs. 

Since 2016, the RNZ Podcast team has produced, or had a significant hand in the production of, over 60 podcasts, with a total of 26 being created in 2020 alone. RNZ  podcast listenership has grown to 15.3 million on third party platforms and 18.7 million on RNZ’s own website and app. White Silence (produced in partnership with Stuff), The Aotearoa History Show and The Service all featured in Apple Podcasts’ top 10 shows in New Zealand in last year. RNZ Podcasts have now won or been a finalist in 18 prestigious local and international awards.

RNZ funds and supports the production of high quality video and podcast content, working collaboratively with a broad range of creative producers to tell New Zealand stories. A number of these projects have received awards including the NZTV Awards (NZ Wars: Stories of Waitara, Winner of the Te Māngai Pāho Best Māori Programme), The Voyager Media Awards (He Kākano Ahau, Joint Winner for Best Episodic/Recurrent Podcast and the NZ Radio Awards (Moe Makes Music, Winner of Best Children’s Programme).

The start of the year will see the return of long-running podcast series Our Changing WorldVoices and Storytime, a new series of Healthy or Hoax, and a fresh season of Newsroom’s daily news podcast The Detail with hosts Sharon Brettkelly and Emile Donovan making sense of +the big stories every weekday. Upcoming content includes Fragments (podcast) released on 22 February, marking 10 years since the major Christchurch earthquake, and the second series of Conversations With My Immigrant ParentsNZ Wars: Tainui and Untold Pacific History will be delivered as a video and podcast series in early 2021, and major environmental series Return of the Wild will be launched mid-year.

* RNZ Audience Growth
92,000 more listeners tuned in to RNZ National and RNZ Concert year on year in 2020, with a total RNZ listenership of 768,800 in the last nationwide GfK radio survey. There has been a 52% growth in traffic to in 2020, with an average of 1.27 million visitors to the website each week, in addition to significant growth on the RNZ app and social media channels. Research shows that RNZ reaches 63% of New Zealanders aged 18+ in a typical week through partnerships and all distribution channels.