Media Releases

New York Gold for Radio New Zealand

Released at 10:00 am on 19 June 2012

Radio New Zealand's Christchurch earthquake documentary, Broken River, has won a gold medal in the prestigious New York Festival Radio Awards

Broken River, received the 2012 award for best social issues or current affairs programme at a ceremony last night in Manhattan. Produced and presented by Simon Morton and Richard Scott, the programme included audio recordings made less than a week after the city of Christchurch was devastated by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in February 2011.

Simon Morton traversed the city using the Avon river as his route, travelling on a bicycle from the source of the Avon in the West to Heathcote Estuary, where the river meets the Pacific east coast, stopping to talk to people along the way and recording their reactions to the earthquake.

The New York Festival Awards recognise the world's best radio programmes. Judges commented that, with entries from radio stations, networks and independent producers from twenty seven countries, the 2012 awards provided exceptionally strong competition.

The remarkable thing about Broken River, according to Paul Bushnell, Radio New Zealand's Spoken Features Manager, is its formal elegance:

"Given the constraints of the recording, which gathered material entirely by chance, the programme takes the audience through an emotional as well as a geographical journey through the heart of a city in a time of upheaval. With only a bike and a microphone, and working alone, Simon gets an extraordinarily frank and open response from many people who want to talk, who want to have their experiences captured."

Broken River was a finalist in the recent 2012 New Zealand Radio Awards and was first broadcast in 2011 on Radio New Zealand National, the top ranking radio station in New Zealand. *

Simon Morton's original broadcast version plus an extended version of Broken River can be heard on the Radio New Zealand website: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/documentaries/brokenriver

Simon Morton can be contacted at Radio New Zealand: simon.morton@radionz.co.nz Phone: 027 224 5403

*Source: Nielsen Report 2011 The Year That Was published April 2012

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