'Unprecedented increase' in te reo Māori music on mainstream radio

By Kelvin McDonald
Photo / File

There has been a "boom" in waiata reo Māori on commercial radio in the past year, according to music and radio industry representatives.

Paul Kennedy from Radioscope/Recorded Music NZ, which manages all airplay data, says 2021 saw an "unprecedented increase" in waiata reo Māori on commercial radio.

“It’s really pleasing to see the growth in these figures as radio stations push more and more local music out to their audiences," Kennedy said in a NZ on Air statement on Saturday.

"It’s particularly welcome to see how waiata reo Māori has boomed on mainstream radio in the last year, going from a small niche in the data to regular and substantial play during peak times on some of the biggest radio networks.” 

This upswing in mainstream airplay does not include waiata reo Māori played on iwi, public and student radio.

Jana Rangooni, chief executive of the Radio Broadcasters’ Association, says the increased airplay is a positive sign.

“So many New Zealand radio stations are playing more New Zealand music than ever before, and more and more te reo Māori hits on the radio, which is great to see,” she says.

“At a time when there is more influence on what people see and hear from global platforms, the role New Zealand radio plays in celebrating and promoting our own great music is more valuable than ever.”