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Leave Homegrown alone!

6 May 2005

Leave Homegrown alone!

Radio New Zealand’s plans to scrap its popular Homegrown New Zealand music programme are shameful, especially in New Zealand Music Month.

That’s according to Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast and City Councillor and Arts spokesman Ray Ahipene-Mercer who say the move will cause significant damage to the country’s contemporary music scene.

Mayor Prendergast says Homegrown, on Saturday afternoons, plays a central role in showcasing up-and-coming musicians from around the country. “The removal of this important programme would take away a valued opportunity for bands to get what is often their first chance at national exposure.

“I make no apologies for saying that Homegrown helps promote our Creative Wellington – Innovation Capital philosophy. I know the show regularly broadcasts the work of the Capital’s musical community to the rest of New Zealand – and that is a good thing.

“If Radio New Zealand could prove that Homegrown wasn’t a ratings winner then they might have a point in planning to get rid of it. They can’t – but I know personally that the programme has a huge following.”

Cr Ahipene-Mercer, a musician and guitar-maker himself, says Homegrown host Liz Barry “plays the same role in New Zealand as the late, great John Peel did for years on the BBC”.

“As a long-time member of the local musical community, I know that Liz has mana and great standing. She is very well connected – and her passion for local music has meant that many local musicians have been given airplay and the all-important confidence boost that comes with it.

He adds that it is “appalling that, in New Zealand Music Month, the RNZ bosses should be considering the end of this great New Zealand programme”.

Both Cr Ahipene-Mercer and Mayor Prendergast are urging listeners to lobby RNZ to “leave Homegrown alone”.


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