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This profile looks at New Zealand public sector broadcasting: the BCNZ, TVNZ, RNZ and NZBS.

The agencies

Historically, most broadcasting services in New Zealand were state-owned, based on the UK model (in particular the BBC) and funded through a consumer licensing scheme. The Broadcasting Tribunal regulated entry into the commercial radio market until 1989.

The Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand (BCNZ), a statutory corporation that replaced the earlier NZ Broadcasting Service (NZBS) and NZ Broadcasting Corporation (NZBC), had a monopoly in television services until 1987.

The Corporation was abolished in 1988. It was replaced by two government enterprises - Radio New Zealand (RNZ) and Television New Zealand (TVNZ) - required by legislation to operate on a commercial basis. Thatcherism avant la lettre. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Aotearoa Maori Radio, formerly part of the BCNZ, were established as discrete government agencies.

In 1996 the commercial operations of RNZ were sold to a consortium of Wilson & Horton (controlled by the O'Reilly's APN) and DMGT associate GWR. RNZ retained responsibility for 'National Radio', Concert FM and other low audience transmissions such as broadcasting of Parliament.


For background we recommend Philip Day's The Radio Years - A History of Broadcasting in New Zealand Vol 1 (Auckland: Auckland Uni Press 1994).

TVNZ currently provides television services to Fiji, Niue, the Cook Islands and Nauru.

Other state networks

There are separate profiles on

  • ABC and SBS - Australia
  • BBC - United Kingdom
  • CBC - Canada
  • MCS - Singapore
  • PBS - USA