RNZ features student docos on love, health, tapu and Pacific reflections

AUT radio student Shae Osborne in the RNZ studio. Image: AUT

By Laura Williams

Exploring what it’s like to look for love as a 40-something-year-old woman, a grandfather recovering from a stroke, a Pacific grandmother’s recollections, the power of tapu and the life of a bushman are just some of the radio documentaries made by Auckland University of Technology students broadcast on national radio this month.

RNZ National featured seven short documentaries made by final-year Bachelor of Communication Studies students in its Summer Report series.

Students majoring in Radio were given the opportunity to produce a 10-minute radio documentary, on any subject, as a final project for the Radio Performance paper. The paper teaches students how to plan, write, produce and present a radio show or radio documentary.

The paper leader and senior lecturer, Trevor Plant, from the School of Communication Studies, said he was impressed at how the students embraced the project.

“The group of radio majors were amazing this year – talented, passionate, and itching to put into use the practical radio skills they’ve learned,” Plant said.

“They really impressed me with these docos. There was a range of fascinating topics, stories and characters – and some excellent audio story-telling, genuine emotion, and fresh, original angles,” he added.

AUT is the only university to offer this opportunity for students. The relationship between RNZ and AUT has developed over several years.

It started when a guest lecturer from RNZ, impressed with the topics students had chosen for their assignments, asked to hear the finished documentaries. He was so taken by the documentaries, he asked to play them on RNZ National.

‘Intelligence and curiosity’
This year, the documentaries were selected by Justin Gregory, RNZ senior producer – Podcasts and Series / Eyewitness.

“I’m always impressed by the intelligence and curiosity of the AUT radio students and this year has been no different. Every one of them demonstrated a keen and sophisticated sense of the possibilities of sound, and a keen ear for a good story,” Gregory said.

The seven projects selected were broadcast on RNZ National, New Zealand’s most popular radio station, reaching an audience of up to 535,000 people each week.

“With the help of our tutors, and a few all-nighters, a lucky few of us were chosen to have our work played on RNZ National. This made the many hours of planning, interviewing and editing all worth it!” said Shae Osborne, a student whose documentary was selected.

“The feeling of having your own blood, sweat and tears played on your car radio and knowing that when you laugh, others all around New Zealand are laughing with you, is indescribable,” Shae added.

Documentaries broadcast:

The AUT documentaries will also be featured on the RNZ National website.

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