27 April 2023

NZ On Air’s Public Interest Journalism Fund (PIJF) has stepped in to ensure media in the Hawkes Bay and Tairawhiti are better prepared to serve their communities with vital public interest journalism in the wake of recent Civil Defence emergencies.

Cyclone Gabrielle caused widespread communications disruption and many media in the Hawkes Bay and Tairawhiti region struggled to continue day-to-day operations. NZ On Air invited eight organisations who currently receive Public Interest Journalism funding in those affected regions to apply for additional one-off special Emergency Resilience Funding.

Five of those eight organisations applied for funding and have been granted one-off additional funding, to a total of $112,916.

NZ On Air Head of Journalism, Raewyn Rasch, Ngāi Tahu/Kai Tahu says each organisation found it difficult to fulfil their obligations to produce public interest journalism due to a lack of emergency equipment such as generators and mobile communications. She says some also struggled with the volume of public information that needed to reach audiences in the wake of the disaster.

Rasch says that with the Public Interest Journalism Fund (PIJF) coming to an end, due to some projects coming in under budget in recent rounds, it was in the rare position of being able to provide some additional funds.

“At NZ On Air, we felt that Cyclone Gabrielle was such an unprecedented situation, and of such immense scale for the media organisations in those affected areas, that we should do what we could to ensure audiences are able to access critical information when they need it,” says Rasch.

“And to ensure that those media are in a position to be better prepared in the face of any future Civil Defence emergencies.”

Funding Decisions

Gisborne Herald, up to $12,324

Hawkes Bay App, up to $21,429

Te Reo Irirangi o Ngāti Kahungunu/ Radio Kahungunu, up to $29,663

Te Reo Irirangi o Ngāti Porou/Radio Ngāti Porou, up to $30,000

BayBuzz, up to $19,500