This category provides information about:

  • the NZPO coast radio station Awarua Radio, ZLB;
  • the NZPO Radio Depot located at that site and later in Invercargill, and
  • the services provided by the coast radio station and radio depot.


Awarua Radio - A Site of Many Dimensions

Awarua Radio and its functions can best be understood when it is viewed as a many-dimensioned enterprise - a place that over time was a part of many levels of activities.

  • On an international level Awarua Radio supported New Zealand's international radio communications needs as a part of a NZ Post Office 'team' of stations. These stations included Awanui Radio near Kaitaia, Auckland Radio at Musick Point, Himatangi Radio on the Manawatu Coast, Wellington Radio on the Tinakori Hills and Makara Radio overlooking Cook Strait.
  • On a regional level Awarua provided radio communications to New Zealand interests in Antarctica, to its sub-Antarctic Islands, to Campbell Island and to isolated coastal communities in the South Island.
  • On a domestic level Awarua Radio provided safety and weather services for coastal fishing and commercial vessels.
  • On a military level during WW1 and WW2 Awarua Radio worked with stations in Marlborough, Wellington, Auckland and Fiji to provide direction finding and intelligence support. Awarua also supported Coastwatcher stations in the sub-Antarctic Islands.
  • On a provincial level the Awarua Radio Depot (and later as the Invercargill Radio Depot) supported installation and maintenance of radio bearer and land mobile systems throughout Southland and its nearby environs.

The operations of Awarua Radio can also be considered in a multi-level format.

  • The Receiving Office (RO) was staffed by NZPO Postmaster-General's Office - Radio Operator personnel who handled the 'operations' of Awarua Radio - the listening and sending aspects of passing messages to and from the station.
  • The Transmitting Station and Radio Depot was staffed by NZPO Engineers Office - Radio Technicians who maintained the receiving and transmitting equipment used by the operators at the RO and the bearer and land-mobile systems around the province.
  • The aerials, feeder wires, poles and towers  were installed and maintained by Engineers Office - Construction and Maintenance (C and M) Branch aerial rigging personnel. This branch also provided vehicle fleet purchase and maintenance, power generating and electrical services to Awarua and many 'outstations' in remote locations.
  • Telephone and Telegraph services were provided by Engineers Office - Telephone and Telegraph technical staff.
  • The Lands and Survey Department maintained the land and stocked the wide expanse of paddocks that contained the Awarua Radio aerial farm.


While some of the radio services provided were unique to Awarua Radio's southern location, many similar services were also undertaken at coast stations and radio depots throughout New Zealand.

As can be seen from the above breakdown of roles and functions, Awarua Radio did not stand alone but was part of a significant network of NZ Post Office services. In addition to the roles mentioned, there are many more components, such as the administration and planning aspects of Head, Regional and District Offices of both Engineering and Postmaster's branches. These offices managed pay, training, staffing, etc as well as system planning on a national, regional and district basis.