NZME congratulates Jamie Mackay on being awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit

New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) has today congratulated legendary broadcaster and pioneer of rural radio, Jamie Mackay, on being awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to broadcasting and the rural community in this year’s King’s Birthday Honours.

Mackay is the founder and host of flagship rural radio show The Country with Jamie Mackay, which broadcasts across NZME radio stations including Newstalk ZB, GOLD SPORT, Hokonui, and digital audio platform iHeartRadio. The show recently celebrated a significant milestone - its 30-year anniversary, with hundreds turning out to a special celebratory event in Southland.

The King’s Birthday Honours notes refer to Mackay as a pioneer of rural radio, driving the broadcasting of rural content nationally in mainstream media through New Zealand’s leading rural network show The Country. It was noted that Mackay has been rural New Zealand’s voice in mainstream media and that he’d acted as MC for numerous rural events and awards ceremonies, donating all his MC fees to charities. He has been a prominent advocate for rural mental health and wellbeing support and initiatives.

The news follows the recent announcement that Mackay is a finalist in the 2024 Primary Industries New Zealand Awards for the Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand’s Primary Industries award. This recognises individuals who have made significant contributions to the primary industry sector through innovation, leadership, and dedication.

Michael Boggs, CEO of NZME says: “This is such a well-deserved honour for Jamie. He has created a tight knit community through The Country, growing it from something he started on his farm in Riversdale 30 years ago to what it is now as New Zealand’s flagship agricultural show. Jamie plays a hugely important role in connecting with our rural communities and has given so much more of himself through other activities and events too. We’re absolutely thrilled to see him celebrated in the King’s Birthday Honours today.”

Jason Winstanley, Chief Audio Officer at NZME, says: "Celebrating The Country’s 30 year anniversary with Jamie just a few weeks ago in Southland was a real privilege. With hundreds of people turning out in support, it was a sign of just how respected he is, not just as a broadcaster, but in the massive amount of work he does for his community. He’s an extremely talented broadcaster and a brilliant person, and we’re so proud to see him awarded in this respect today.”

Rowena Duncum, NZME Commercial Lead – Rural and previous Executive Producer for The Country, says: “Having worked alongside Jamie for the past eight years, including six as his producer, I know just how much he values the opportunity to give voice to rural matters every day. But this goes beyond just 'doing his job.’ From normalising the conversation around rural mental health and advocating for the IHC Calf and Rural Scheme as its ambassador, through to holding politicians and leaders to account, for more than 30 years, Jamie has kept rural New Zealand at the heart of everything he does. I'm delighted he has been honoured today - it is so very well deserved.”