1920 – 1929

Details of New Zealand wireless stations, 1922 yearbook
Details of New Zealand wireless stations, 1922 yearbook. Click to enlarge.

“The wireless station at Awarua is equipped with a new standard barometer and a barograph, so that weather reports are available from that station for ships, and for Sunday and holiday reports, when the usual post-offices are closed. Awanui is also to be similarly furnished, so that gradients between our fartherest north and south may be available at all times.
Chatham Islands reports its weather regularly every evening by radio. This is also cabled by us to Australia every day of the year with other reports, at the expense of the Commonwealth Government.
One important source of information – from ships at sea – is not available to this office; but weather-reporting from ships is well organized, and has been found most useful in other countries which need such reports far less than we do in these isolated islands.
No reports are available from the Pacific islands, the sum voted in a former year being insufficient to obtain even one daily report from one island. As tropical cyclones are generated in these regions, it is hoped that these reports will be secured in future, and, when the Kermadecs are inhabited, that a radio-station may then give us weather reports, which may times prove of inestimable value for saving life and property…
Radio weather-forecasts and 4pm barometer readings…are broadcast nightly from Wellington and Awanui, but have recently been discontinued from Awarua.”
– AJHR: Marine Department, 1922*


Portable radio tests in Wellington

WF Massey
WF Massey

The disappearance of the coastal steamer Ripple near Cape Palliser in 1924 prompted the New Zealand Government to consider whether ships operating on the New Zealand coast should be required to carry wireless equipment. Prime Minister William Ferguson Massey raised the issue in his remarks at a memorial service for the 14 crew of SS Ripple.


In August, Puysegur Point lighthouse gets radio apparatus to communicate with Awarua Radio. A previous telegraph line had proved difficult to maintain.


Ships limit 450m use to reduce interference with broadcasting stations


In November, New Zealand was represented by A Gibbs at the International Radiotelegraph Convention in Washington. This convention agreed, among other things, to allocate the callsign range ZKA-ZMZ to New Zealand. Following ratification, the convention went into effect on 1 January 1929.


The Washington Convention went into effect, and New Zealand radio stations changed from callsigns beginning with the letter V to callsigns beginning with Z.

» 1930 – 1939


* Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives