Radio Waatea is Auckland’s only Māori radio station that provides an extensive bilingual broadcast to its listeners. Based at Ngā Whare Waatea Marae in Māngere, Radio Waatea is located amidst the largest Māori population in Aotearoa – New Zealand.
UMA Broadcasting was established in 1999 by the urban Māori authorities – Manukau Urban Māori Authority and Te Whānau a Waipareira Charitable Trust – as an entity to seek, foster and develop opportunities for urban Māori in broadcasting.
UMA Broadcasting is responsible for Te Reo Māori Irirangi o Waatea (Waatea 603 AM) and is a key stakeholder of the 96.6 FM frequency which broadcasts George FM in Tāmaki Makaurau.
Both stations were set up as vehicles to deliver the UMA broadcasting vision: ‘The promotion, retention and enhancement of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga for an urban Māori and non-Māori audience’.
Within the context of this statement, UMA Broadcasting recognises its main imperative is to foster positive attitudes towards, and accurate beliefs about, the Māori language and culture amongst Māori and non-Māori 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, a conscious decision has been made to programme a radio station that meets the needs of everyone in English and Māori.
The company holds the frequency and management rights to Auckland’s only Māori radio station, Waatea 603 AM.
In addition under its Waatea News service, UMA Broadcasting 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 programming to the iwi radio network as well as four Community Access radio 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 for Māori Development, Te Puni Kōkiri, New Zealand On Air and Māori Television.
Waatea 603 AM coverage encompasses the greater Auckland area, Manukau city, Waitematā, north to Whangaparoa and south to the Waikato region plus key broadcast pockets in Tauranga, Whakatāne, Taranaki and Hauraki.
Its national programmes and services guarantee national coverage hourly, daily and weekly via the iwi radio network and Community Access radio stations.
Waatea 603 AM broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a format that is aimed primarily at a Māori audience aged 35 years and over.
Radio Waatea’s range of programmes include Māori and English language news and current affairs programmes and bulletins, talkback radio and an eclectic mix of contemporary R’n’B and ‘old skool’ music.
Independent research has shown that the programming produced by Waatea 603 AM have a wide appeal.
The company has attracted 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 to 35-year-old age group.