Connecting New Zealanders
Despite every indication, the podcast format has prevailed. Though initially conceived as a way to entertain professionals during commutes or in their otherwise busy life, it has surpassed this expectation. It rose to its highest prominence in the unprecedented climate of the last year—the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Amongst our isolation, the unique personal connection that can be forged between podcaster and listener came to the rescue. Discussions of finances, mental health, and self-discovery were all pertinent themes for the uncertainty of the lockdown period. They were able to be explored in real time, with the complexity of such issues complimented by the long-form format podcasting allows.
New Zealand was no exception to this increased interest in podcasting, local production and consumption rising alongside global trends. Though flourishing, we can always do more to support independent New Zealand creatives. ‘Supporting local’ can be as easy as listening to a NZ podcast on the way to Uni, and thankfully there is no shortage of options for listeners.
Only 64 episodes into its projected 100 episode run, Qiane Qiane Matata-Sipu, founder and creator of Nuku, has created an invaluable podcast. Using interview style conversations and accompanying photography, Nuku explores the lives of indigenous women. Nuku’s scope of stories is incredibly impressive, such as Episode //035’s Terangi Roimata Kutia-Tataurangi, a Māori nail art specialist, or Episode //20’s Lynell Tuffery Huria, a lawyer on the frontlines of Māori intellectual property rights.
Though the women of their respective episodes share incredibly unique stories, Nuku always situates their experiences in the greater collective wisdom and Māori worldview of the podcast.
Qiane’s mission statement in the podcast’s introductory episode asks us to “see how the world can be shaped by [indigenous women’s] voices, the unique culture we see. Let us show who we are, and not who we have been told to be.” This mission was undoubtedly fulfilled in Nuku. By amplifying the voice of indigenous women, Nuku reminds us of the potential for media to empower us, and create social change.
Creative Curiosity tackles universal questions related to the artistic process though the personal outlook of its host, Te Haunui Tuna. Exploring his life as a visual artist and aspiring filmmaker, Te Haunui provides practical guidance to those aspiring to pursue work in a creative industry. Reminding us to create everyday, to allow ourselves to fail, and to set boundaries for our work, Creative Curiosity is abundant with positive affirmations for established artists and amateurs alike.
The podcast, however, does not shy from the complications of creating art: lack of motivation, the free labour expected of rising artists, struggling to find a style—all of these issues are tackled by Te Haunui and his guests. This complete image of the artistic experience is complimented by the range of mediums Te Haunui explores, discussing with his peers in visual arts, as well as filmmakers and musicians. This wealth of knowledge and experience makes Creative Curiosity an essential listen to those uncertain with their own journey as a creative.
Sarah Kelsey’s The One Up Project is an independent NZ based podcast following self- development and financial literacy, advising us on “everything we weren’t taught but should’ve been.” Though self-help podcasts run the risk of talking down to its audience, The One Up Project carefully balances expert advice and the admitted imperfections of Sarah and her guests. Whilst each episode covers different aspects of self-improvement or finance, it is this vulnerable relatability that ultimately threads the show together and asks us to return back every week.
Most successfully, The One Up Project never attempts to isolate finance in our lives. This holistic approach sets it apart from other financial podcasts, acknowledging the intersections between our personal finances with our mental wellbeing. In contextualising financial literacy in this way, The One Up Project not only provides practical advice, especially useful to a student audience, but allows us to understand our relationship with money in a more comprehensive way.
How would you describe The One Up Project?
The One Up Project is essentially a financial literacy and self development podcast. The general scope of what we focus on is everything you were never taught in school but should have been. So that started with my main passion, which is financial literacy, but now we are broadening out into general self development, physical and mental health topics as well, and hoping to get more broad as we go along, whilst keeping the main focus on financial literacy.
Why did you choose the podcast format to deliver your message?
I love that question. It is a very specific reason as to why. With a podcast, you can multitask. You can be listening to a podcast and cleaning your room, or listening to a podcast and walking, shopping, or doing anything. Whereas I felt with a Youtube video, for example, you had to be zoned in on that video; though there is a lot of entertainment value in a video, you want to be watching it and engaged the whole time. Whereas a podcast, you can have it as a background noise, where you are picking up little bits of information as you are listening.
I was pleasantly surprised how you integrated your personal experiences with your advice. Was this something you deliberately planned to explore when creating the show?
It was definitely my intention from the start. Another big part of what the podcast is trying to do is to explain those topics in an easy to understand, non-intimidating way. I really wanted it to be a safe space, where people felt they could talk about money and it wouldn’t be taboo, but also where people could actually enjoy listening to money related topics. Talking about budgeting and mortgages can be extremely tiring and draining. It’s why so many people procrastinate dealing with their own finances. I really wanted this platform to be entertaining in a way where we could joke around and explain things in a casual way. I wanted to lighten up those topics as much as possible.
How has producing over the lockdown periods changed your content and outlook to podcasting?
I feel like I started at a perfect time. I didn’t know what was going to happen but in a way the lockdown definitely grew my audience. People had more time and wanted to use it to upskill and improve in different areas in their lives and change their personal situation. I was able to focus a lot more on my content as I was also working at home, so I was able to do the podcast a lot more. It did become harder doing interviews, obviously, having to do them online, as I prefer doing the episodes in person so you can really sense the authentic connection of the two people talking.
Where do you see The One Up Project going in the future?
Everytime I get asked this I’m like “I have no idea”… I do know, but I get scared of saying my own goals. Where do I see it going? … I see it growing into a huge popular resource for young people in New Zealand and Australia to learn from and to feel empowered to to take control of their own lives. Practically I see that extending into more webinars, and events, and hopefully a bigger stronger platform where people can get personalised content for their situation. Ultimately just growing it to reach as many people as possible to feel in control of their own life, to stop living week to week, paycheck to paycheck, and actually start living for what they enjoy, love, and want to do.
For University students looking for a creative outlet, podcasting seems like a low-cost medium for them to share their ideas. What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to start a podcast?
Definitely. It is so low cost, and definitely start a podcast if you have an idea that you feel like others would benefit from or resonate with. My main advice would be: don’t get caught up in feeling like you have the best gear. My mics were $300 for 2, and you can get ones for even cheaper, just as good as the thousands dollar sets people use. Just get started, start with your message and purpose of what you want to get across and roll with it.
People definitely think that there are too many podcasts out there already and think it is too saturated… but it’s definitely not. Though many are starting podcasts, not that many people are staying consistent. If you are someone who can stay consistent with your content and have a real passion for what you’re talking about, you’ll be successful. In saying that, if you just want to start a podcast with your mates and have a laugh and chat about what you did on the weekend and make that your passion project, I would say 100% go ahead. It’s so much fun and a great way to chat through your thoughts.
Check Sarah out on instagram @theoneuproject and on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.