Once a radio dream, now 30 years on air for Christchurch’s Tahu FM

Graphic from Tahu FM Facebook page

Lee Kenny, Feb 15 2021

It began with a question – “Hey cuz, can you help me set up a radio station?”

Now Tahu FM is celebrating 30 years on the airwaves, with a month of birthday celebrations.

The station started out as a dream for Mahina Kaui and Tahu Stirling.

Piki Skerrett-White is a broadcaster for Tahu FM in Christchurch. Photo: Tahu FM/Stuff

Today, Arihia Bennett, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chief executive officer, says the original identity of Tahu FM is “still front and centre”, three decades on.

“For 30 years we have stayed true to who we are, not just as an iwi radio station but as a genuine voice for Ngāi Tahu, and the wider Māori community,” she said.

Graphic from Tahu FM website

“Our underlying kaupapa will always be to share the talents and stories of our people in our voice.”

Key changes to the Waitangi Tribunal Act and a need for the protection and promotion of te reo Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi laid a path for the station’s inception – and it was officially launched on Waitangi Day 1991.

Tahu FM DJ Ra Dallas supported Pink Ribbon Day for breast cancer awareness in 2008.
Photo: Dean Kozanic/Stuff

The station is broadcast in Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Kaikōura and Timaru, online and via digital platforms such as the Tahu FM app.

It is widely known to support and foster local talent, from emerging Māori music acts to the on-air hosts.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai, who has a fortnightly kōrero on the breakfast show, Moata Rau with Piki, said she was proud of the station’s history and ongoing achievements.

Tahu FM’s Big Breakfast Crew Rocky, left, and Sista, back in 2014. Photo: Richard Kean/Marlborough Express

“The success of Tahu FM is a true credit to the likes of Mahina Kaui and Tahu Stirling, the pioneers of the station,” she said.

“They recognised that it was possible to have our own iwi radio station as a tool to protect, preserve and promote te reo Māori and Ngāi Tahutanga.”

Birthday commemorations will include special guest appearances, giveaways and flashback video reels that will be premiered through the Tahu FM Facebook page.

Graphic from Tahu FM website

© Stuff Feb 15 2021

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