Youth Council On Air

Photo: Dedicated to Dunedin: Bram Casey is one of the hosts of Dunedin Youth Council On Air on OAR FM.

Dunedin Youth Council is using its local media platform to share news of the achievements of the city’s younger citizens.

OAR FM programme and podcast Dunedin Youth Council On Air is co-hosted by a team of young councillors, secondary school students elected for a two-year term as representatives for youth in the community.

Dunedin Youth Councillor Bram Casey (15) said the radio show offered the general public insight into what young people were involved with locally.

“Youth council members are able to provide some of that view, but we often call in other young people and interview them about their accomplishments and activities.”

Recent episodes have included features on the Dunedin Youth Writers’ Group, independent record label Strawberry Jam Records, and maintaining wellbeing while studying in times of a pandemic.

Youth council membership for Bram was a deeply personal commitment to his home city.

“I’m in love with every acre of Dunedin,” he said.

“I thought to myself that if I could make a meaningful change or improvement in the city, it would benefit my heart as much as the people I live with, and near.”

Dunedin Youth Council On Air is broadcast on Mondays at 4pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Radio Show Offer Study Tips

Photo: Life-long learning: Sofea Haizal (17) hosts Sofea’s Study Space on OAR FM.

Maintaining good study habits is the focus of new OAR FM programme and podcast “Sofea’s Study Space”.

The show is the brainchild of Bayfield High School student Sofea Haizal (17), who is balancing her responsibilities as Head Girl with Year 13 studies and running a fledgling business.

Spotting a gap in the local market for hijabs, the head covering worn in public by some Muslim women, Sofea established her business Piller in 2021 under the Young Enterprise New Zealand initiative, which promotes entrepreneurship skills in New Zealand high schools.

The independently-run small enterprise is committed to diversity, sustainability, and sourcing local materials.

With so many hats to wear, and with the challenges that the pandemic has brought, Sofea found herself searching for tips on how best to manage her studies. She decided to share what she learned through a radio show and podcast.

Sofea said the show was not just for school students.

“This is also about being a life-long learner. Whatever people want to do, whether it be learning a new language or anything else, there is a whole technique to finding studying enjoyable.”

“Sofea’s Study Space” is broadcast every second Tuesday at 4pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

New Sinhalese Language and Music Show

A new community access radio show and podcast is celebrating Sinhalese language and the golden era of Sri Lankan music.

Dr Suranga Dassanayake, an Assistant Research Fellow at the School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, hosts weekly programme Sathsara Rawa on OAR FM.

Dr Dassanayake grew up in a small village in Sri Lanka’s Western Province, where mornings were often spent tuned into a popular music programme on the radio.

He and fellow villagers depended on the radio, he said.

“Music gave us direction, perseverance and enthusiasm to go ahead with the day.

“These were songs about love, our society, our history and the beauty of nature.”

Sathsara Rawa features artists such as Sri Lankan music legend Pandit Amaradeva, who dominated a period from the 1960s through to the early 2000’s known as the golden era.

Dr Dassanayake said the music would have nostalgic appeal to listeners from Dunedin’s Sri Lankan community, and to others around the world tuning into podcasts.

“These songs take us back to an era when we spent a very happy life in Sri Lanka.”

Sathsara Rawa airs every Wednesday at 7pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts. Listeners can email the programme at

Radio Tailored to Listener Needs

Dunedin Public Libraries has been working with OAR FM Dunedin on a project to tailor a new radio show in response to a community survey conducted in early 2020.

Survey respondents voted highly for a programme that included interesting interviews, a range of music, history, and readings.

New show Recollections Radio reflects this wish list, and acknowledges that for many listeners who spend their days at home or in aged-care facilities, the radio is welcome company.

Presenters Jill Bowie and Kay Mercer are the team behind Dunedin Public Libraries’ Scattered Seeds digital archive, which hosts the collected memories, mementos and stories of people who have landed here, taken root and come to call Dunedin home.

Ms Bowie said that she and her radio co-host see themselves as a couple of friends to spend Monday morning-tea time with.

“We want to collect listeners’ stories, also. The most exciting thing about Scattered Seeds is that some of the stories are amazing, and we know there are more hiding out there to be shared.”

The programme is supported by funding from the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Project, which supports library services to be retained and assists libraries to support community recovery.

Recollections Radio airs every Monday from 11am to 12pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Photo: Telling Stories: Kay Mercer and Jill Bowie are hosts of OAR FM show Recollections Radio.

Vaccination Stories Shared

A new podcast series on OAR FM Dunedin is sharing vaccination experiences from a range of cultural perspectives.

For Our People: Diverse Dunedin Shares Its Vaccination Stories is made with support from the Ministry of Health. Funding has been made available to support local communication initiatives that will increase access, uptake, and support of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in ethnic communities.

In each of the 10 episodes, one Dunedin-based person shares personal and cultural reasons for getting fully vaccinated.

The perspectives of contributors from Malaysia, China, Iran have been aired in the series so far, in a mix of English and languages of origin.

Lisa Li settled in Dunedin from China 20 years ago. Her view reflects a common thread emerging in the series to date.

“Vaccination reduces the possibility of infection,” Mrs Li said.

“This is safe and healthy for me, my friends and my family.

“I have a two-year-old granddaughter. I made the right decision now so that she can live in a safe, peaceful and beautiful country.”

For Our People airs on Wednesdays at 7pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Radio Church Keeps The Faith

A weekly radio programme of Christian worship is still going strong after 87 years.

Whether OAR FM Dunedin’s Radio Church listeners are people confined to home, travellers, are in aged care facilities and hospital, or anyone else who cannot attend a church service, there is something for everyone.

The roster of hosts for the weekly programme includes Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic and Seventh-Day Adventist ministries.

The programme and podcast also provides an opportunity for students to lead a service, through Student Christian Movement Aotearoa.

Radio Church is New Zealand’s longest-running radio show. Originally titled Radio Church of the Helping Hand when it first aired on 9 April 1934 from Dunedin station 4ZM, the programme was the initiative of Dunedin Central Methodist Mission superintendent Reverend Leslie Bourneman Neale, known to his thousands of dedicated listeners as “Uncle Leslie”.

Having lived in the pre-wireless era, Rev Neale was fascinated with broadcasting and soon attracted a huge unseen congregation to his programme of music, poems, prayers and talk.

More recently, the programme has played an important role in keeping people connected to their faith and the wider community of worshipers.

As one listener put it in a recent telephone message, “Thank you so much for Radio Church during lockdown. I don’t have Zoom so it has been very important for me.”

Radio Church airs on Sundays at 8.30am on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Photo: Home worship: Holy Name parish’s Amy Armstrong and Jim Devlin take their turn presenting Radio Church on OAR FM.

Radio The Right Therapy

Radio is providing beneficial therapy for a Dunedin man in recovery from traumatic brain injury.

In September 2016, Jamie Bennett was riding his motorcycle through a Sydney intersection when a young driver turned a four-wheel drive vehicle into his path. The resulting collision left Mr Bennett with multiple injuries, including fractures in his skull, spine and legs.

Several surgeries and a complex insurance battle later, Mr Bennett returned to hometown Dunedin, arriving just prior to the first Covid-19 lockdown.

Further complications from a fall outside a local music venue set Mr Bennett’s rehabilitation back, but a referral to shared arts studio Artsenta proved a positive move.

An introduction to radio through a co-hosting role on Artsenta’s Artwaves programme on OAR FM Dunedin led to Mr Bennett developing his own weekly show, Bennettini Selects.

Each episode features a wide range of music from a vinyl collection compiled over several years of international travel prior to the accident.

At first daunted by learning the intricacies of live-to-air presentation and production, Mr Bennett is now sufficiently confident to fly solo with a mix of rock, reggae, blues, jazz and instrumentals.

“I absolutely love music and I’d like to continue to develop the show,” he said.

“I have a lot of great Turkish and World music from my travels.”

Bennettini Selects airs on Tuesdays at 1pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Ears On Natural World

A Dunedin-based wildlife filmmaker has diverted his focus to what we hear, rather than what we see, when exploring our natural environment.

Karthic SS hosts OAR FM programme and podcast Tune Into Nature, telling stories of wildlife and conservation in Otago.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and coming to terms with immense global and local changes, has made our connection to nature more central than ever, he says.

“Through natural soundscapes and local stories of conservation, Tune Into Nature aims to entertain and inform listeners, and strengthen our relationship with the natural world.

“This project involves conservation activists and volunteers telling their stories, and sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for Otago’s unique natural environments. We hear about the work of numerous community organisations, and hopefully inspire our communities to support important conservation work.”

Field recordings of natural phenomenon are woven through each episode, transporting the listener into a variety of wild environments. Early editions have featured the dawn chorus at Orokonui Ecosanctuary, birdsong at the Aramoana saltmarsh, and the sounds of urban green spaces during lockdown.

Tune Into Nature is made possible through funding from the Otago Regional Council Eco Fund, with support from the University of Otago Centre for Science Communication. The show airs every second Tuesday at 9.30am on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. 

Youth Air Their Differences

Dunedin student Ranisha Chand (20) is providing a media platform for young people to discuss their beliefs, in the hope that it will reduce tensions over differing perspectives.

On OAR FM Youth Zone programme and podcast Hear Us Say, guests are invited to share their spontaneous responses to prompt questions around areas of prejudice and personal values.

The questions come from a set of Mosaic Cards, a resource developed by Ara Taiohi, a non-government organisation for youth development in New Zealand.

Hear Us Say was designed to build social cohesion, Ms Chand said.

“Through encouraging people to sit down and have a chat in a very safe environment about what their differences are, and how they can live with those differences in a community without any bitter feelings, we learn how to coexist.”

Ms Chand is a student of Politics and Pacific Island Studies at the University of Otago. She is also a Youth Advocate for not-for-profit community organisation Shakti, which provides free and confidential support for women, youth and children from Asian, Middle Eastern and African backgrounds going through family violence.

The Youth unit has run campaigns to stop intergenerational cultural bullying, and has advocated in parliament on the issues of forced and under-aged marriage. Hear Us Say airs every second Wednesday at 4pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. 

Samoan Women Host Radio Show

A programme by, for and about Samoan women has joined OAR FM Dunedin’s Friday night line-up.

Lupe Sina is hosted by Erolia Rooney and Christine Anesone. Erolia is a supervising scientist with the NZ Blood Service and is an active sport, culture and community volunteer, including as a Catholic Chaplain. Christine is Pacific Islands Community Liaison Officer at the University of Otago’s Pacific Islands Centre.

The programme joins Friday shows Lupe Fetala’i and Lupe o le Foaga, and Sunday morning Christian worship show Lupe o le Talalelei, all of which are supported by Lupe Fa’alele a Samoa i Otago, a Society of Samoans living in Otago.

Presented in a mix of Samoan and English language, Lupe Sina is wide-ranging in its content but mainly focuses on supporting Samoan women with information on health and wellbeing, housing, food and fashion.

Episodes to date have included discussion on education and career pathways, breast and cervical screening programmes, and the traditional role of Samoan women in their communities and families.

Recent shows have also included tips for keeping homes warm, dry and healthy through the winter months.

Lupe Sina airs every second Friday at 5pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.