In a dramatic expansion of its reach, burgeoning local community radio station Paekakariki 88.2FM is now broadcasting live Kapiti Island's birds and over 30 locally produced radio shows live across most of the Kapiti district, as well as to households in Paekakariki.
"One of the challenges we faced when we set up was the limited coverage for the station, and that made it hard for people to find our frequency," said Mark Amery, the station's programme manager.
With the help of Paekakariki-based company Groundtruth, who provide technical tools, advice and management services to help with sustainable land use and environmental monitoring, and the support of local radio transmission enthusiasts John and Rochelle Brader, the radio station's transmitter has moved to the top of Paekakariki Hill. This allows listeners to tune in across Raumati and Paraparaumu, and as far away as Waikanae Beach and Pukerua Bay.
"Now we can share all our creativity, music and local journalism. Plus Kapiti Coast residents get the chance to hear the wonderful birdsongs of our island in their homes. We can now take Paekakariki with us driving around the district!"
Thanks to its association with Groundtruth and the support of Ngati Toa and the Department of Conservation, Paekakariki 88.2FM broadcasts live the sounds of Kapiti Island between 11pm and 10am every day. Then, between 10am and 11pm the station's shows are broadcast continuously. These range from two hour community radio show 'Te Pae' (which airs twice daily 12noon and 6pm) and everything from a magazine style show about sustainability to specialist shows in reggae, comedy, jazz, African music, country and modern classical.
"We've only been on air a year and a half," says Amery of the station, "but we've been growing steadily. Earlier this year we moved into our own premises and have become a significant community resource, ranging from a popular school show to presentations from local musicians, poets and journalists. There is a real thirst from locals to share their music, stories, history and discuss issues, local and global."
As well as being able to be heard at 88.2Fm through much of the district through radio, Paekakariki FM can also be heard worldwide streaming live on the internet, through their website www.paekakariki.org.nz, where a 24 hour live stream from Kapiti Island can also be heard. In addition the website hosts over 200 audio items you can listen to online of local musicians, poet and people sharing their stories, which have so far received almost 3000 plays.
Paekakariki FM is a non-profit organisation run by Paekakariki Informed Community Incorporated who used to publish the newspaper Paekakariki Expressed. People can find out more about Paekakariki 88.2FM at www.paekakariki.org.nz.