Radio reaching isolated township

Makarora residents can now keep in touch with the wider Upper Clutha community through the airwaves.

From last Friday, homes in the isolated valley between Wanaka and Haast could tune into a local radio station, following a grant by Central Lakes Trust to fund equipment to get Radio Wanaka's signal into the town of about 100 full-time residents.

Makarora Community Association vice-chairman Devon Miller was responsible for getting the project off the ground.

Residents had talked about getting radio reception in the town for some time but the catalyst was the huge dam created by the landslip up the Young River little more than a year ago.

"It made us realise that there was no real way of informing people all at the same time about what was going on," Mr Miller said last week.

The new equipment gave residents the option of interrupting the radio station to broadcast messages to the local community, which would be a great help during emergencies, Mr Miller said.

Radio Wanaka owners Ed and Kim Taylor said they were pleased to extend their coverage to Makarora.

The station also broadcasts in Wanaka, Cardrona, Luggate, Tarras, Cromwell and Bannockburn.