White Silence
2020 Finalist

White Silence

Stuff Ltd

Wellington, New Zealand

Category Audio

Overview of this campaign

For older Kiwis, the demise of flight TE901 is ingrained in the collective consciousness. But 40 years is a long time. The objective of White Silence was quite simple: make the story relevant to all New Zealanders, especially those who may not understand the disaster's impact on our politics, our society and on, arguably, our most well-known company.

The Erebus disaster was not just about the crash itself. The aftermath - investigations, an inquiry, reports and resignations - isn't as well known, despite shaping New Zealand in the 1980s. 

In developing this podcast, one question about Justice Peter Mahon's famous quote - "an orchestrated litany of lies" - kept cropping up. Mahon had led an inquiry into the crash and levelled that claim at Air New Zealand. But what were the lies? While many of us might recall some obfuscation by the airline, the details, and the huge ramifications they would have, are not common knowledge. 

This series delved into the minutiae of the case, using archival material and the voices of those who were there, to build a unique version of the Erebus story.

It also looks at why Air New Zealand never said sorry, despite the litany of evidence suggesting they needed to take responsibility for the deaths of 257 people.

Results for this campaign

At the time of writing (January 13, 2019), White Silence had attracted 288,900 listens worldwide.

Within 24 hours of launch, it was number one in the New Zealand Apple podcast charts in both the 'episode' and 'show' categories.

Significantly, one listener of the podcast was New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

Subsequently Ardern apologised to the families on behalf of Air New Zealand in an incredibly significant and somewhat unexpected move.

For 40 years families have wanted an apology. It finally came from Ardern.

Ardern said she wanted to recognise and give the apology that had stood in the way of a family's right to freely set down their grief for so many years. 

"The time has come to end piecemeal acknowledgement.

"After 40 years, on behalf of today's Government, the time has come to apologise for the actions of an airline then in full state ownership; which ultimately caused the loss of the aircraft and the loss of those you loved."

The Prime Minister later sat to record a bonus episode of the White Silence podcast, where she outlined why said sorry.


To contact a company representative about this campaign, click here for the INMA Member Directory

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