Awarua Radio 1920-1929


Returns were furnished to the effect, signals were received from all parts of the world on long wave. Awarua also became an earthquake reporting office.

LH (Les) Steele1921

Mr LH Steel became Officer in Charge.


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.
– Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives: Marine Department, 1922

Radio weather-forecasts and 4pm barometer readings…have recently been discontinued from Awarua.
– Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives: Marine Department, 1922


Satisfactory communication was maintained by Radio-Awarua with the Norwegian Whaling Expedition, headed by the factory steamer ‘Sir James Clark Ross,’ during the whole period of its operations in Ross Sea. Radio-telegraphic communication with the expedition was effected at 2000 miles, and radio-telephone traffic was handled from the ‘Sir James Clark Ross’ at a distance of 1400 miles. Although conversations by radio-telephone have been conducted on many previous occasions by vessels trading in these waters, this is the first case in which this agency has been employed for the transmission of a radio-telegram to a New Zealand coast station.
The transmitting equipment at Radio-Awarua is being supplemented by an efficient short-wave transmitter, in order to provide a more effective means of communicating in daylight with ships on the southern steamship routes. When this transmitter is installed the period of transmission at Awarua will be increased and the duration of the watch extended.
– Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives: Post & Telegraph Department, 1924


Traffic figures for December: 136 received and 30 transmitted. Sir James Ross whaling ship sent 263 messages totaling 4044 words through Awarua at a cost of £101 while in southern waters.


British Official Wireless Press transmissions were transferred from Leafield, Oxford, to Rugby (GBR) longwave 16 kc/s. The transmissions were only observed at Awarua.

James Henry Hampton1927

Mr JH Hampton became Officer in Charge.

In March the British Official Wireless Press was first copied and transmitted by telegraph to Wellington.


On 1 January, the callsign of Awarua Radio changed from VLB to ZLB, under the new worldwide callsign allocations agreed at the 1927 International Radiotelegraph Convention. (This was the second change in callsigns, as prior to 1913 there were Auckland – NZK, Awanui – NZA, Wellington – NZW and Bluff – unallocated.)

AW Head, Superintendent of Awarua RadioMr AW Head became Officer in Charge.

Awarua monitored radiotelephone tests between UK and Australia and records show signals were better at Awarua than Sydney. Awarua also monitored American station W2XAW Schenectady for the General Electric Company and continued to do so in 1930.

On 23 June, a railway stop designated “Awarua North” came into service just outside the entrance to Awarua Radio on the Invercargill-Bluff railway.

» 1930-1939