Radio Waatea is Auckland’s only Māori radio station that provides an extensive bi-lingual broadcast to its listeners. Based at Ngā Whare Waatea marae in Mangere, it is located in the middle of the biggest Māori population in Aotearoa.
UMA Broadcasting Ltd was established in 1999 by the Urban Māori Authorities, namely the Manukau Urban Māori Authority and Te Whanau a Waipareira Charitable Trust, as an entity to seek, foster and develop opportunities for urban Mâori in broadcasting.
Since its inception UMA Broadcasting has set up the Māori radio station in Tamaki Makaurau Te Reo Irirangi o Waatea (Waatea 603am) and is a key stakeholder with the 96.6 FM frequency which George FM broadcast off in Tamaki.
Essentially both stations were set up as vehicles to deliver the UMA Broadcasting vision.
“The promotion, retention and enhancement of te reo Māori me oona tikanga for an urban Māori and non Māori audience.”
Within the context of this statement, UMA Broadcasting recognizes its main imperative to foster amongst Māori and non-Māori positive attitudes towards, and accurate beliefs about the Māori language and living culture, so that Māori-English bilingualism becomes a valued part of New Zealand society.
The organisation also recognises and acknowledges that English is the first language for the vast majority of Māori and therefore we have made a conscious decision to programme a radio station that meets the needs of everyone in English and Te Reo Māori.
The company holds the frequency and management rights to Auckland’s only Māori radio station Radio Waatea 603am. In addition under its Waatea News and Current Affairs service the company delivers the National Māori Language News and Current Affairs service to the iwi radio network, a collective of 21 independent stations across the country. It also provides bilingual news and current affairs products to the iwi network and 4 Community Access stations.
The company has developed a number of strong relationships with its key stakeholders, including the Māori radio network (Te Whakaruruhau), Māori broadcasting funding agency Te Māngai Pāho, the Office of the Minister of Māori Affairs Te Puni Kokiri, New Zealand on Air and Māori Television
The Waatea 603am coverage encompasses the greater Auckland area, Manukau City, Waitemata, north to Whangaparoa and south to the Waikato region. Plus key broadcast pockets in Tauranga, Whakatane, Taranaki and Hauraki, while its national programmes and services guarantees national coverage hourly, daily and weekly via the iwi radio network and Access Community stations
Waatea 603am broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a format that is aimed primarily at a 35+ Māori audience.
Radio Waatea’s range of programmes includes Māori and English language news and current affairs, talk radio as well as an eclectic mix of contemporary r&b and old skool music.
Independent research has shown that programmes Waatea provide have a wide appeal and the station enjoys a strong, fiercely loyal listenership from both a large Māori and non-Māori audience, as well as a growing number of younger listeners within the 25-35 age group.