Student documentaries featured on RNZ National

16 Dec, 2016
AUT student Shae Osborne in the RNZ studio

In early 2017, RNZ National featured a number of radio documentaries made by final-year Bachelor of Communication Studies students.

Exploring what it’s like to look for love as a 40-something year-old woman, a grandfather recovering from a stroke and the life of a bushman are just some of the stories made by AUT students.

Students majoring in Radio were given the opportunity to produce a ten-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,” said Trevor.

“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.

This year, the documentaries were selected by Justin Gregory, RNZ Senior Producer – Podcasts and Series / Eyewitness. He says,

“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.”

Seven projects selected aired on RNZ National, New Zealand’s most popular radio station.

“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 selected:

  • In ‘Mid-Love Crisis’, Shae Osborne tells the story of a 40-something year-old woman who is looking for love.
  • Demi Arbuckle talks to forestry workers in 'Life of a Bushman'.
  • Tim Belin looks at cosplay in 'Is this Just Fantasy?'
  • In 'Tapu', Liam Edkins explores the power of his taonga.
  • In 'My Muddled Mind', Hayley Colquhoun tells the story of a granddad beginning his recovery from a stroke.
  • Nayte Matai'a-Davidson tells stories from 1970s Grey Lynn in 'What a Time to be Tinted'.
  • In 'The Road to a Ribbon', Molly Dagger goes to a calf show.

The AUT documentaries aired in January 2017 on RNZ National. They are now featured on the RNZ National website, and are available by searching 'mini-doc'.

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