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Radio New Zealand sending out an SOS...!

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

It can't be often that Radio New Zealand (RNZ) transmits their own distress message, but when their Hawke's Bay team were stranded off-air by the recent Napier floods, Hastings HIVE answered the call. But the question was if a modern co-working and shared office space could make an impromptu sound studio?

As Tom Kitchin, RNZ Hawke's Bay reporter recounted "At five, we were looking out of our office-studio in Carlyle Street, Napier at the teeming rain, thinking it was getting heavier, when water began seeping under the door (editor's note: over 50mm of rain fell between 17:00 and 18:00 on Monday 9th November).

Tom Kitchin from radio New Zealand uses a media booth at coworking space Hastings HIVE
Preparing to record a story from a Hastings HIVE phone booth

Tom shared how, spurred on by the rising water, he and colleagues raced around rescuing valuable sound recording equipment from the rising flood, unplugged and raised electrical gear and then retreated for the night. The next morning found the equipment safe, but the office and custom-fitted sound studio unfit for habitation. Soggy walls, sodden carpets, a smelly mess. Insurance assessors quickly locked down the building and Tom retired home to work.

However, a flatmate working odd hours and a school close by meant that good sound recording was near impossible. Worse, the shortage of building materials and labour in the Bay has meant that what might normally be a two week job, will be a two, maybe three month project.

Which is how come Tom and RNZ approached Hastings HIVE to see if we could accommodate a journalist desk and an impromptu sound recording studio. Co-working desks we have plenty of. But could a phone booth be used as a sound studio, we asked?

Media booths enjoyed by coworkers to make private calls
Anna Lorck, MP for Tukituki making a quick call recently, whilst out and about supporting local business

Whilst the booths are lined floor to ceiling with the beautiful yellow Autex sound insulation, and the ceiling tiles are sound dampening, Tom points out that the HIVE phone booths' overhead air extractor fan and glass door mean they're not up to normal sound studio standard. But he still finds the two HIVE phone booths work a treat, with some innovative muffling technology somehow involving a towel - trade secret Tom?

Now, in our HIVE stage 2 development for 2021, a further two phone booths will be added and two dedicated video conferencing suites. So it sounds like these will need to be upgraded to studio quality!

Asked how he enjoys working from the Hastings HIVE shared space, Tom replied with a big grin and zero hesitation, "I love that chilled sparkling water station!" And then more seriously, "We have just a small office, so I really enjoy being in a larger office with such an interesting group of people around, and with the buzz you get from that." Sounds like Tom's going to miss things when it's time to return to the RNZ mother ship.

Find out how you can upgrade your business office by joining our shared space in the commercial centre of the Hawke's Bay.

Check out our meeting spaces here: Shared space facilities

Take a virtual tour starting in a makeshift studio: Google virtual tour

Or book a visit in person: Book a tour

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