Radio Show Celebrates Sister City Relationship

Scottish connection: Marion O’Kane and Simon Vare host Kilts and Kiwis on OAR FM Dunedin.

The Dunedin-Edinburgh Sister City Society is back on air with a radio show and podcast in the lead-up to this year’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations.

OAR FM Dunedin show Kilts and Kiwis has returned for a third series. The fortnightly magazine-style programme features music, interviews and updates on plans for the annual Celebrate St Andrew’s Day event, to be held in the Octagon on Saturday, 30 November.

Marion O’Kane, who co-hosts the show with Simon Vare, said the Society’s role was to promote and grow the creative links between Dunedin and Edinburgh.

“The radio show is an opportunity to talk about what communities here and in Edinburgh are up to, and to further the Society’s aims of building on our historical connections.

“We’ll be talking with guests from Edinburgh as well as Dunedin people who are preparing to make this year’s St Andrew’s Day very special.”

This year was the first time the Society’s event in the Octagon would be held on Scotland’s official national day. As well as all the usual stalls, games, music and family-friendly “have-a-go” activities, there would be plenty of Scottish-themed food items.

Listeners with a yen for a hearty bowl of porridge in the meantime could expect competitions and giveaways of Harraways products on the Kilts and Kiwis show.

Mr Vare said a “friendship agreement” with Corstorphine Community Council, signed earlier this year, was an example of the Society’s ongoing efforts to strengthen relationships with Edinburgh.

“We’re looking to find mutually beneficial solutions to common challenges and to build on longstanding connections.

“The agreement includes supporting and developing new social and economic, cultural and community programmes to encourage citizens of both cities to share their experiences and learn from one another.”

Kilts and Kiwis airs every second Friday at 10am on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, with podcasts available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

‘Good Yarns’ About Difference

A new programme and podcast on OAR FM Dunedin is promoting conversations about difference in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Amal Abdullahi is international student wellbeing lead with Silverline Otago, set up in 2017 for Otago University students, by students, to give them an opportunity to discuss self-care and mental health issues.

Ms Abdullahi said she approached OAR FM about creating her show Headscarves and Good Yarns after examining her own response to the events of 15 March.

“I saw a lot of conversations happening on Facebook and in real life, people talking about racism in New Zealand and how it wasn’t that big of a shock that (the shootings) happened here, and that we need to change if we want to avoid something like this happening again.

“All I could think about was that it’s awesome that people are thinking like that now but what’s going to happen in a couple of weeks or months? People are going to stop having these conversations, and that urgency for change is going to disappear.”

The radio show and podcast would be a forum for “good yarns”. Anyone who considered themselves to be different or who wanted to share their own experiences and stories was welcome to take part.

Civic and community leaders would also be invited to be part of the conversation.

“I’d like our leaders to talk about race and diversity in New Zealand, and how we’re going to navigate the change that’s needed,” said Ms Abdullahi.

While the programme would be traversing some heavy topics, the focus would be on positive approaches and outcomes.

“There will always be in-depth conversation but I never want it to come from a place of judgement or hate.”

Headscarves and Good Yarns airs Mondays at 7pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, with podcasts available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Photo: In-depth conversation: Amal Abdullahi hosts Headscarves and Good Yarns on OAR FM Dunedin.

Indigenous Perspective on Arts


Photo: Indigenous perspectives: (from left) Vicki Lenihan, Irene Karongo Hundleby and Lou Kewene-Doig hosts Natives Be Woke on OAR FM Dunedin.

Three Dunedin women are exploring the connections between creativity, technology and the indigenous world in a multi-platform programme that taps into their collective interests in music and the arts.

Natives Be Woke: Taihoa E Hoa is the brainchild of artist, producer and educator Lou Kewene-Doig, sculptor, writer and arts advisor Vicki Lenihan and ethnomusicologist, storyteller and arts advocate Dr Irene Karongo Hundleby.

The programme is broadcast and podcast from OAR FM Dunedin, and via vlog (video blog) from YouTube.

The show’s hosts believed the perspectives of Maori and Pacific Island women were missing from mainstream coverage of the arts. Stimulated by their own regular conversations on the topic, they successfully sought funding support from Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s Suffrage 125 initiative to create a mechanism for wider discussion.

Ms Kewene-Doig said it was important to make the show accessible, hence the decision to use video and audio platforms.

“We’re interested in unique views of what is happening in the world,” she said.

“Between us, we have the technical expertise to not only talk about these things but to show what we’re talking about, in as many cool ways as we can.”

Ms Hundleby said contributions from the programme’s audience were welcomed.

“The vlog enables us to get a response back from people. We really encourage people to engage with us and tell us their stories, to help build this discussion further.

“Culturally, multiple views within the collective is what we try to reproduce in another way, using technology.”

The next edition of Natives Be Woke: Taihoa E Hoa airs on Saturday 8 December at 2pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, with podcasts available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

A Voice for South Asian Women

The voice of South Asian women should be stronger in contemporary discussions of feminism, says a local broadcaster.

Swaroopa Unni hosts fortnightly programme HerStory on OAR FM Dunedin. The show features profiles of Indian and South Asian women who have made a contribution to the women’s movement.

“The feminist discourse is mostly from the Western perspective,” said Ms Unni.

“The voices of women from South Asia have to come forward. We’re always on the fringes and we need more visibility.”

HerStory was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of “everyday women, artists, performers, and women from mythology or legend”.

“It could be my mother, grandmother, auntie or friend. These women are sometimes not recognised for the effort they have put in.”

Ms Unni is founder and choreographer of Dunedin’s Natyaloka School of Indian Dance. Her ‘liberal” upbringing instilled a confidence to voice her opinions and make decisions about career and family that not all South Asian women enjoyed.

“Some women are entrapped in patriarchal ideas of how and what a woman should be. Most of the time these definitions do not take into account what a woman wants.

“I’ve seen the struggles that my friends and family members have gone through, so compared to that I’m definitely more privileged. There are women who can’t do as they wish, but that doesn’t mean they are not talented and are not part of the women’s movement.”

The radio show had so far included profiles of Indian freedom fighter Savitribai Phule, Indian-born American astronaut Kalpana Chawla and Carnatic singer, cultural activist and scholar Bangalore Nagarathnamma.

Podcasts could be downloaded and shared from oar.org.nz.

HerStory airs fortnightly on Mondays at 7.30pm.

LISTEN TO PODCASTS

Photo: Recognising women: Swaroopa Unni hosts HerStory on OAR FM Dunedin.

Stronger Presence for Ethnic Communities On Air

The voice of Dunedin ethnic communities in local media just got a little stronger, with the Dunedin Multi Ethnic Council (DMEC) hosting a weekly show on Otago Access Radio’s Connecting Cultures Zone.

DMEC On Air had until recently aired in a monthly half-hour slot, focused on promoting networks and links with the wider community of Dunedin. The change to a weekly format was driven by DMEC vice-president Lux Selvanesan, a member of the Dunedin Tamil Society which presented its own show, Vanakkam Tamizha, on Tuesdays from 7pm to 8pm.

Mr Selvanesan said the Tamil group had learned much about the diverse traditions, backgrounds and interests of its own members through membership of a Society, and through making a talkback show. His role with DMEC opened his eyes to opportunities for other cultural organisations to tell their stories.

“I hadn’t realised the power of radio as a tool for connecting until I got involved with Vanakkam Tamizha. I wanted to expand that opportunity to all the other groups.

“If the large number of ethnic communities in Dunedin can connect and share learnings, it will make for an amazing family.”

DMEC community initiatives included Chai and Chat, a weekly opportunity for women of all cultures to share food and hear from guest speakers, and Koru International Playgroup for children under 6 years, open to migrant and Kiwi families. A community garden at Musselburgh School was another project for men and women interested in gardening, especially seniors.

DMEC On Air will feature updates on DMEC activities, profiles of Council members, and interviews of general interest to new and established migrant families. Hosting roles would be shared among members, including women from the Chai and Chat group.

The programme next Tuesday will include an interview with Whaea Tania Williams and Kai Tahu kaumatua David Ellison on the topic of tangata whenua.

DMEC On Air airs every Tuesday at 6pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from www.oar.org.nz.

Photo: Connected: Dunedin Multi Ethnic Council vice-president Lux Selvanesan coordinates DMEC On Air on Otago Access Radio.

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 www.oar.org.nz.

First-time Broadcasters in Safe Hands

They say there’s a first time for everything and for many of Otago Access Radio’s 180 volunteer broadcasters, their first training session is a novel experience that comes with a few nerves.

Those collywobbles soon settle when they realise that the station’s studio engineer Geoff Barkman knows exactly how to ease a novice radio host into the role.

It also helps that trainee broadcasters initially practise off-air, says Geoff.

“It’s kind of like being in a flight simulator. You can operate the console as if it were a live broadcast but it isn’t going to crash if you hit the wrong button.”

Geoff has been training people from a wide ranges of backgrounds, ages and abilities in all aspects of the station’s studio functions for the past nine years and has enjoyed watching the transformation each person goes through.

“Most people get the hang of things after a couple of sessions and then it’s just a matter of practising until the mechanics of the desk become second nature. After that, they can relax and really enjoy themselves.”

Station staff work with any group or individual wishing to create their own show, providing expertise and support and encouraging each programme to become self-sufficient. While most Otago Access Radio broadcasters are trained in announcing and microphone techniques alongside operating the broadcast console, others focus on production aspects only.

Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council vice-president Lina Lastra, who is currently in training to present a Spanish-language programme, says Geoff’s patience and calm demeanour have enabled her to relax.

“For me, it’s a massive boost to my confidence because I have never done this before and never dreamed to do it. Now that I’m given the chance, it’s a fantastic opportunity.

“I’m very passionate about sharing my culture, so this is like a dream come true.”

Photo: Practice makes perfect: Otago Access Radio studio engineer Geoff Barkman trains volunteer broadcaster Lina Lastra in the operation of the station’s studio console.