Radio Show Profiles Peninsula People in Trust’s Golden Anniversary Year

The Otago Peninsula Trust’s 50th Anniversary year promises a golden opportunity to share the beauty, history and character of the peninsula, with a new radio series at the centre of the celebrations.

Otago Access Radio show Peninsula People launches on Friday 13 January, hosted by the Trust’s marketing manager Sophie Barker. The 50-episode series will feature conversations with people dedicated to preserving and enhancing the wildlife and attractions of Otago Peninsula.

Ms Barker, a self-described “peninsula girl”, said the time was ripe to reflect on the achievements of the Trust, which was formed in 1967 as the first charitable conservation trust in New Zealand.

“These were some keen young men and women who saw the potential for Dunedin in celebrating its heritage and developing opportunities for the visitor industry.

“Their first task was to save Glenfalloch, which was under threat of subdivision. But they were also interested in the wildlife on the peninsula and opened the first public access to view albatross, as well as working on viewing points for the yellow-eyed penguin. They had a huge number of ideas.”

The radio series would open with stories of the Trust’s earliest achievements and would include interviews with such stalwarts as Bill Dawson, who had volunteered his time with the Trust since its inception. Later episodes would explore more recent projects and include conversations with some of the school-aged children who were the “next generation” of the peninsula’s guardians.

“This series will be a really valuable resource. There are so many personal stories to tell, about people who care deeply for Otago Peninsula. We’re looking forward to sharing them on the radio show and through podcasts that can be listened to in your car or at home.”

The Trust’s attractions now included the Royal Albatross Centre, the Fort Taiaroa disappearing gun, Blue Penguins Pukekura, Glenfalloch Woodland Garden, Fletcher House and Tiki Tours. Visitors could expect some special anniversary deals and public events through the year, including an exhibition during April’s Wild Dunedin Festival and a garden party in October.

Those sharing a 50th birthday with the Trust in 2017 were line for some extra treats.

“We’ll be announcing some 50 percent discounts for various peninsula attractions, so people should check out the Otago Peninsula Trust website for news so everything we have planned.”

Peninsula People airs Fridays at noon and Sundays at 7.30pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast from this webiste

Photo: Otago Peninsula Trust marketing manager Sophie Barker, host of Otago Access Radio show Peninsula People, with Trust stalwart Bill Dawson.

Plenty of Choice for Summertime Listening

Otago Access Radio listeners will have no shortage of locally produced shows to enjoy over the holiday period. The station’s two studios have been booked solid over recent weeks as volunteer broadcasters record fresh episodes of their programmes to air when they are spending time with friends and family.

Station manager Lesley Paris said several broadcasters were planning special Christmas and New Year editions of their programmes.

“Jazz fans will be happy to know that Calder Prescott and Lou McConnell will be jointly hosting a ninety-minute special on Christmas Day. It’s a tradition that goes back a few years and a nice way to bring our two jazz aficionados together.

“Other programmes will explore themes that are especially relevant to this time of year, from staying physically and mentally healthy to enjoying the outdoors and relaxing with great books and great music.”

Summer holidays also offered the opportunity to catch up on programmes listeners might have missed earlier in the year. Podcasts were available to download from the station’s website and from iTunes, to be listened to at any convenient time.

Southern Heritage Trust programme Heritage Matters was an example of an informative and entertaining series that lent itself well to an “immersive” online listening experience.

“Heritage Matters covers a lot of territory, from stories of Dunedin’s earliest settlers to debate around preservation of the city’s built heritage and plans to restore or establish historic sites. Anyone with an interest in local history and architecture would find it a pretty compelling series to tap into.”

For those who wanted to create a musical soundtrack to their summertime activities, there were plenty of music programmes available as podcasts.

“We have Celtic music covered on Celtic World, Americana on The Jukebox Highway, vinyl classics on The Vinyl Vault and alternative music on Blip In The System, as well as several shows on our Connecting Cultures Zone that celebrate the music of our migrant communities.”

Photo: Podcast potential: Otago Access Radio’s Heritage Matters team are (from left) Jane Edwards, Dougal Stevenson and Bill Southworth.

Radio Show Promotes Self-Help Health Resources

A new Otago Access Radio show is promoting access to reliable, evidence-based self-help health resources.

Listen Yourself Well is presented by Sophie Carty and Rebecca Llewellyn, members of WellSouth Primary Health Network’s health promotion team whose role it is to take a preventative and proactive approach to the health needs of the people of Otago and Southland.

Rebecca said the radio show took inspiration from WellSouth’s Books On Prescription programme, which launched in Central Otago libraries in 2011 as a collection of self-help books that could be prescribed by GPs, counsellors and other health professionals to patients who “needed a little bit of extra support”.

“This year, we expanded, rebranded and relaunched the programme with three streams. We have books, which you can get from a library, audio-visual resources available online, and apps for digital devices. You can now read, listen and tap yourself well.”

The books, podcasts and apps covered a wide range of health topics, from depression and anxiety to diabetes and heart disease, as well as “lifestyle” resources that addressed breastfeeding, food choices, relationships, alcohol and smoking.

Each episode of Listen Yourself Well would highlight an item from the WellSouth collection, all of which had been reviewed and recommended by experts in the relevant field. Interviews with health professionals would add specialist knowledge and a local context.

Sophie said the aim was to encourage listeners to see that the healthier choice was often the easier choice.

“We hope the show will be an interesting and informative look at a range of physical and mental health issues, and the resources, services and community-based initiatives that exist to support people with mild-to-moderate health problems.

“Health is much more than what you do as an individual. It’s about your family, whanau and wider social networks.”

Listen Yourself Well airs Thursdays at 1pm and Saturdays at 12.30pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast from and iTunes.

Photo: The healthy choice: WellSouth’s Rebecca Llewellyn (left) and Sophie Carty host Otago Access Radio show Listen Yourself Well.

Listen to episodes from this series

New Show Draws Inspiration From Radio Legend

The latest volunteer broadcaster to join the stable of music show hosts on Otago Access Radio (OAR FM) is drawing inspiration from the man who has been described one of the most important men in music.

BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who died in 2004, was instrumental in the promotion of new forms of music, from indie rock and punk to electronic music and hip hop. Stephen Neal, host of OAR FM show Blip In The System (Fridays, 6pm-7pm) was a regular listener to Peel’s programme while resident in the UK and plans to echo its eclectic sound in his own show.

Mr Neal, who settled in Dunedin three years ago, was schooled in the alternative music of the eighties and nineties, regularly attending gigs by the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Morrissey. Radio played a complementary role in his developing interest as he searched for music that was “unique or unusual”.

“John Peel brought a lot of new music to me, things that I might never have heard about otherwise,” he said.

“I recently read an excellent book about him, Goodnight and Good Riddance by David Cavanagh, which directly inspired me to make my own radio show and play some of the music I’m passionate about.”

Peel’s commitment to featuring new artists on his programme, and the subsequent boost that gave to many careers, said much about the power of radio, Mr Neal said. Blip In The System would provide a similar gateway for up-and-coming Dunedin bands, and Mr Neal would welcome suggestions from listeners about acts he should check out.

“New Zealand music history is something I’m still learning about, and that’s one of the fascinating things about moving somewhere else in the world. It really broadens your horizons.”

The show title recognised that most people were in some way part of many social structures, and that “it’s lovely when that gets a little transposed or interrupted.”

“In whatever way, you’re part of a system you have to be part of. I hope to get you out of that at the end of the working week by offering some new sounds.”

Blip In The System airs Fridays at 6pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast from

Click here for the podcast

Love Affair with Braille leads to Multi-Platform Radio Show

Dunedin woman Julie Woods’ love affair with braille has led to an innovative podcast series, radio show and YouTube resource that takes a fun approach to learning the tactile reading system for the blind and visually impaired. More on that, later . . .


The Braille Biscuit Show, a 26-episode series supported by The Blind Foundation, airs at 10am on Tuesdays on Otago Access Radio, with replays on Saturdays at 8am. It is podcast from the station’s website, with YouTube clips of feature braille-education segments available on YouTube.



Julie, a motivational speaker and coach, is known as That Blind Woman. In 1997, at age 31, she was diagnosed with inflammation of the retina due to an unknown virus which left her legally blind. Preferring initially to focus on computer and speech recognition technology to aid with communication, she turned to braille in 2001.


“It was a goal I set myself, to make a positive change, and I quickly fell in love with the code,” she says. “I was reunited with the written word and was able to once again read, this time with my fingers. It was truly liberating.”


But it wasn’t just the code that captured Julie’s imagination. The story of Louis Braille, the Frenchman who lends his name to the system of small rectangular blocks that contain tiny palpable bumps, also intrigued her.


“Louis Braille lost his eyesight by age 4, due to an accident. At the age of just 15, he developed his code, which has transformed so many lives.”


The Braille Biscuit Show includes interviews with visually impaired and sighted people who use the braille system, readings in braille, music from musicians who are blind or have low vision, and quotations from deaf-blind American author and political activist Helen Keller.


And Julie has a special companion alongside for a programme segment that explains the braille system.


The Braille Biscuit Monster, a hand puppet with an appetite for the chocolate biscuits Julie uses to spell out each letter of the alphabet, makes appearances in weekly audio and video features of the show.


“Braille is for young and old,” says Julie. “And braille is fun. I’m looking forward to introducing listeners to braille, and to the story of the young French boy who made an impact on the world. That’s inspiring, because we all have the potential to make a positive impact on the world but I don’t think we often see ourselves in that way.”


Click here to listen to podcasts from this show

Education Focus for Pacific Island Radio Show

A new talkback radio programme aimed at Dunedin’s Pacific Island communities is focusing attention on education issues.

Otago Access Radio show Talanoa Tok Tok Pacific is coordinated by staff from the University of Otago’s Pacific Island Centre and is broadcast on Monday evenings as part of the station’s Connecting Cultures Zone.

Centre manager Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai said the programme would provide a platform for parents and students to discuss the challenges facing tertiary and secondary students from Pacific Island communities, and to celebrate their successes.

“Most of our Pacific students at Otago have come away from home, away from mum and dad, and are learning to be independent. It’s hard, but we need to acknowledge the support they are getting from our communities and our churches.

“The more we share, the more we discuss, we can understand that it is not just them that face these challenges and we can help our students succeed.”

There were currently more than 800 Pacific students enrolled at Otago University, which adopted a Pacific Strategic Framework in 2013 in realisation of a commitment made in its charter to meet the needs of Pacific peoples.

“We want to lift the performance of Pacific students. If we have successful graduates going out to work in our communities, it will help lift them socially and economically,” Tofilau Nina said.

National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) processes would be explored and Talanoa Tok Tok Pacific would also report on events of wider interest to Pacific communities, such as local fundraisers, concerts and public meetings. Listeners would be encouraged to phone in with comments and questions on any subject of interest to Pacific peoples.

“The word talanoa means the sharing of views, so that’s what our programme is about.”

Talanoa Tok Tok Pacific airs every Monday from 6pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and is streamed live and podcast from

Brain Health Focus of Radio Show

Brain health and support for those living with a neurological condition is the focus of a new programme on Otago Access Radio.

Fortnightly show Head Space is presented by the Otago Neuro Interest Group, comprising representatives from Alzheimer’s Society, Brain Injury Association Otago, Epilepsy Otago, Stroke Foundation, MS Otago and the University of Otago Brain Health Research Centre.

Alzheimer’s Society Otago manager Julie Butler said the group formed out of the desire of member organisations to provide information and education to people in the wider Otago region.

“With the complexities involved with understanding brain injury and disease, memory loss or neuropathic pain, how and where to get information can be overwhelming at the time of diagnosis.

“We recognised our resources were being squeezed. By combining resources and working together, we hope we can reach more of our community than we ever have before.”

Head Space was a forum for member organisations to talk in plain language about the services they offered, to air conversations about brain health and research, and to publicise public events and seminars. The show added to the “education toolbox” that included the Mega Brain inflatable walk-through exhibit that had proved popular with children and adults alike during Brain Awareness Week in March.

The brain was the most important organ in the body, Ms Butler said, but many people were “blasé” about brain health.

“If you think about all the health messages we’ve received over the years, everything seems to be pretty much from the neck down, with the exception of oral health.

“People tend to think that because the brain is surrounded by this thick skull, it’s quite safe, when in fact it isn’t. It’s amazing how easily it can be damaged.”

Head Space airs every second Tuesday at 12.30pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast

Photo: Brain power: Neuro Interest Group members (L to R) Lynne Stewart (Epilepsy Otago), Julie Butler (Alzheimer’s Otago), Cathy Matthews (Brain Injury Otago) and Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie (Brain Health Research Centre) present Head Space on Otago Access Radio.


Radio Show on ABC’s of Conscious Living

Dunedin-based clinical psychologist Dr Kumari Valentine has created a radio series around the power of choice.

Otago Access Radio show The Conscious Adventurer was intended to help listeners become more aware of their thoughts, actions and behaviours, Dr Valentine said.

“I really believe that we’re at a time when more and more people are wanting to think about their choices. So we talk about the ABC’s of conscious living – becoming aware and attentive, ‘being’ rather than thinking; and conscious, compassionate choices.”

The show’s title encouraged listeners to view as an adventure the things in life that might otherwise be considered a struggle or challenge.

“We can go into these situations with openness and curiosity. How we see things affects how we respond and react to them.”

Dr Kumari’s PhD and clinical work explored rumination, a form of brooding that acted “like yeast to dough” for those who were prone to over-analysing their problems. That led to an interest in mindfulness, a mental state achieved by focusing awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Radio complemented the online and CD resources Dr Valentine was creating to support her clients, and anyone else with an interest in conscious living.

“I’m on radio because I strongly believe there is a message that I feel drawn to be part of, which is about being aware and compassionate, being gently with ourselves, with each other and with our planet.”

The theme for last month’s episodes of The Conscious Adventurer was Food Conscious July, focusing on food choices and becoming more “food-aware”.

The Conscious Adventurer airs Tuesdays at 12pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast from Replays go to air Fridays at noon.

Photo: Making compassionate choices: Dr Kumari Valentine, pictured here with son Ant, hosts The Conscious Adventurer on Otago Access Radio.

Search On For Specialist Music Shows

Otago Access Radio is welcoming anyone with a love of music to share their enthusiasm with the station’s listeners.

Specialist music shows carried by the community access station range from folk and roots music to baroque opera and Swedish metal, providing for a range of tastes outside the mainstream. Volunteer broadcasters create programmes that reflect their own knowledge, interests and collections.

Station manager Lesley Paris said jazz and rock genres were well represented in OAR’s current schedule but the station was keen to broaden its base of specialist shows.

“Up until recently we had an excellent programme focusing on women writers and performers – it would be great to find a show that explored that further. And I feel sure that there are fans of blues and classical music who could create really entertaining and informative shows.

“You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to enjoy sharing the music you love, and put some time and energy into developing a great show.”

Douglas MacMillan, host of Celtic World (Sundays at 2pm), said his programme was designed to promote the dissemination of Celtic cultures through music “at times framed in a historical, linguistic, social or political context”.

“Whether through nature or nurture, Celtic music speaks to my soul, at once calling me to distant shores and, wherever I am, grounding me in a place that feels like home. I’m really grateful that Otago Access Radio is here to provide an opportunity for amateur broadcasters like myself to create programming.”

Rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll aficionado Warren Voight, host of 360 Degrees ’Round Wazrock (Saturdays at 3pm), said his passion was for uncovering the influences on well-known acts such as the Beatles.

“Over the last six years with my show, I’ve been enthusiastic to have free licence to express my take on the history of popular music, and to feature my favourite artists and songs.

“I’m looking forward to future series on glam-rock greats and Kiwi artists.”

Otago Access Radio broadcasts on 105.4FM and 1575AM, and online at If you would like to find out more about making your own radio show, please call the station on 471 6161 or email

Loving the Lifestyle on the Taieri

You would be hard pressed to find a man more proud to be living on the Taieri Plain than Regan Horrell, who has channelled has passion for Mosgiel lifestyle into a weekly radio programme.

Otago Access Radio show The Plain Life finds Regan behind the mic every Tuesday afternoon, talking with Taieri residents, sportspeople and officials about events and issues of the day.

A background in journalism had stood Regan in good stead for the interview segments on the programme, most of which are live-to-air and others of which are recorded at shops, businesses and meeting places on the Taieri.

“I’m a people person so while making radio is challenging, exciting and a little bit terrifying, it’s an absolute buzz and I’m really enjoying it,” he said.

“It’s a platform for giving the community a voice. People are already coming up to me and saying, you need to talk with this person, they’ll be really great.”

Mosgiel was a welcoming community that had suffered the loss of some important businesses but had much to offer.

“There are a lot of people choosing to live on the Taieri for personal and lifestyle reasons, and the population is growing. The Dunedin City Council’s own plan identifies it as an area for growth and development.

“But there is something of an ‘us and them’ mentality with people who talk about living all the way over the hill.”

Programmes to date had included interviews with Mosgiel soccer stalwart Steven Brennsell and Taieri Community Facilities Trust chair Irene Mosley, and discussion about the future of the Festival of the Plain.

Regan, who wrote and recorded a song Loving The Lifestyle about his home territory, said local musicians would also feature on the programme.

“And not just country music – there are some amazing musicians out there, from high school students to buskers.”

The Plain Life airs Tuesdays at 5pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast from and iTunes.

Jeff Harford
Community Liaison – OARFM