1913: New Zealand’s first wireless press report

New Zealand Herald, Thursday 9 January 1913, p 8


KAITAIA (Wireless Station), Wed.

This message is being sent out from one of the largest wireless stations in the southern hemisphere. From the station, on a hill near Kaitaia, North Auckland, one can see the broad expanse of the Pacific on either side, and towards Australia there is a clear fairway for the magic messages which will shortly flit every day and night from Kaitaia to Pennant Hills, near Sydney, .and even further across the sea.

It may be explained that this wireless station — which, through the courtesy of the authorities, is to-night for the first time in the history of New Zealand journalism taking the place of the ordinary Morse telegraph for the sending of a press message — has for its main object the establishment of a link in the Imperial chain of stations joining together all parts of the British Empire.

It is the first high-power station to be erected in New Zealand. It is also the first to be installed with a generator capable of allowing powerful messages to be emitted. Its power is 35 kilowatts, while those at Auckland and Wellington are only able to deal with a current up to two kilowatts.

This station is already a success. This message speaks for itself, but Sydney, Suva, and vessels far away have been called up, and in all cases the operators “over the way” have said that the messages from here are clear, that the signals are well-defined, and that the ringing note is of a high quality.

The buildings about the station are all substantial structures. There is the engine house, containing a 70-80 hp Gardner oil engine, which drives a generator of 45 kilowatts. There is also the operating house, of four large rooms, a workshop, and store. All the buildings are of ferro-concrete, with asbestos tiled roofs.

The contract been faithfully carried out, and it may safely be said that from an erection point of view the first high-power New Zealand station is a complete success. Mr Eugene Reinhard, and the staff of the Australasian Wireless Company, convey to the New Zealand Herald their best wishes on the occasion of this first wireless despatch to New Zealand.


Kaitaia, Wednesday.

The wireless station is a wonderful combination of architecture, engineering, and science. The familiar crossbar with three or four wires stretched between two masts has been done away with, and a huge steel tower with a network of rope round it is the supporter of the aerials – and what a network! For a radius of three hundred yards from the operating room wires are stretched from the top of the tower to a circle of posts. It makes an imposing picture with bright copper glittering and huge wire stays swaying menacingly in the wind.

The tower is a wonder in itself. It is of heavy steel network 400 ft; high, and it rests on some little pieces of glass. It is built in the form of a triangle so that, however great the pressure of the wind may be on the tall structure, the pressure is even all round; it is mounted on glass because it has to be insulated — nothing but the aerials must gather in the mystic waves that come through space. Supporting the tower are three steel stays, the ends of which are embedded in little concrete lean-tos, themselves just of the correct weight to counterbalance the weight of each stay. It is a wonderful piece of work, this tower. Its principle is a Telefunken patent, and its erection was the main engineering feat of the whole work.

There is at present at the station Mr Eugene Reinhard, chief engineer of the great Telefunken Wireless Company, who has been engaged by the Australasian Wireless Company to carry out the erection of the New Zealand stations. Mr Reinhard is one of the wireless experts of the world, and his experience in erecting stations all over the world, many of them in difficult places, such as the Amazon forest-covered country in South America, in Sumatra, and in Russia, has been a valuable factor in the rapid construction of the Kaitaia station, which will occupy a place as one of the most important stations in tho Empire chain, for it is the link in the Pacific between Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Mr L. Bourke and Mr Otto Spry are also here representing the Telegraph Department.

The actual construction work has been carried out by the Australasian Wireless Company under contract with the New Zealand Government, and had it not been for the awful condition of the roads in the North, the work would have been finished weeks ago. The heavy machinery was carried to the station, four miles from the wharf at Awanui, in bullock waggons, often axle deep in mud and bogged for hours in deep holes. But the great success of the station counterbalances the difficulties of the work. It is hoped that the testing of the insulation will be completed in a week or two, and that by the end of the month the station will be ready for public use.

For unknown reasons, the station was not officially opened until almost a year later, in December 1913 – Ed.

Paragraph spacing added to improve readability.