Whanganui-based Māori radio station, Awa FM began broadcasting on June 17, 1991, and today celebrated 30 years of entertaining and enlightening the people up and down the Whanganui River.
Awa FM programme director Eruera Rerekura telllsTe Ao Māori News the celebrations began with a special blessing by John Maihi before some stories and memories were shared by some of the Whanganui elders from the early days of the radio station.
He says another special moment today was shared when morning show host Manahi Cribb took to the airwaves with his regular morning show. Rerekura says Manahi was just 17 days old when his mother, Piri became one of the first Awa FM announcers on opening day 30 years ago.
"You could say he has grown up literally with the station," Rerekura said. He adds it's a typical story of how Awa FM has become a staple for Māori in the area. The station covers Ohakune and Raetihi, through to Taumarunui, down to Whanganui itself.
Rerekura says the station has covered some of the biggest kaupapa in the region in its time, including the Pākaitore occupation in 1995, where for 79 days local Māori occupied the site.
Awa FM is now looking to the horizon, to find new ways to deliver news to the rohe.
"Awa FM isn't just a radio station. We're now delivering our content in a digital space. We've also come together with the other three iwi radio stations in the region, to form Te Reo o te Uru. These are important initiatives to ensure that the next generation has the tools to pick up the baton, and take us into the future," Rerekura says.