Broadcaster, entertainer and community worker recognised

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Walter "The Wiz" Walsh from Ngāti Porou and Te Aitanga a Māhaki will be awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to community and broadcasting.

“I'm a people's person I just love meeting people I don't care, I'm not racist or anything I remember my Dad saying to me boy, as you grow up, you treat people the way you want to be treated, don't be racist you just take them how they are,” says Walsh.

Walsh is a voice for the people, and is now is his 29th year as an announcer at Turanga FM.

“It's the playlists, it's the music, we play what the people want to hear, not what I want to hear and that's a big key for me and that's why I love it here”.

Walsh grew up in Ruatoria, attended Ngata Memorial College and joined the Army where he worked as a radio operator.

“You'd be surprised what music does to people, you know people could be down and depressed and I'm playing a certain song and they tune in and they ring me up 'oh that song was amazing pai rawa atu tērā waiata can I have it again āpōpō or whatever, those are the sort of things”.

A smoking cessation coach at Turanga Health for 6 years, Walsh also volunteers to support charitable initiatives throughout Te Tairāwhiti.

“I'm there for people in need, like for example relay for life for cancer, lean on me concert for prevention against suicide, those sort of things so if people need me I'm there”.

Walsh says he'll continue broadcasting for another 30 years.