The Māori Development Minister supports the call for consideration of more Government funding for Te Matatini.
Te Ururoa Flavell told Native Affairs, he will continue to attempt to influence other Government Ministers to increase the support and funding provided to the world’s largest Māori Performing Arts Festival.
Recent figures released by Māori Television show that over 1 million viewers tuned in to watch the online and television broadcast of the event this year. Thousands more also attend the biennial event.
Native Affairs investigated the amount of funding provided to Te Matatini by the Government in comparison to funding received by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Royal New Zealand Ballet.
The Ministry of Culture and Heritage provides Te Matatini with $1.2 million dollars a year. The Royal New Zealand Ballet receives close to $4.4 million a year and The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra receives $13.4 million a year.
Te Ururoa Flavell says the support from Te Puni Kokiri recognises the value and importance of the event and it’s support in terms of funding has grown substantially.
He says, “I can do what I can with the money I have at my disposal, which is .05 of the whole Government spend, so it’s not a lot of money so I can’t fix every ill, every desire, every expectation of te ao Māori, but the point is made that I’m a part, I’m a Minister, I sit with other Ministers and the relationship I have with other Ministers is important in terms of trying to secure funding for te ao Māori, not just for Te Matatini but across the board, whether it be Whānau Ora, whether it be injustice and so on which is what I do, day in and day out. So I will maintain that practise and in terms of Te Matatini I will maintain that direction.”
In an interview with Native Affairs the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Maggie Barry said, “It is a completely different business model. If Te Matatini get back to me and say that they would like to employ full-time staff and that they would like to do more performances during the year over and above than what they’re doing now in schools then I would look at that as a funding option for a business model.”
Whether or not a new business model will be presented to the Minster for Arts and Culture, the potential and audience numbers drawn to Te Matatini cannot be denied.
The huge numbers of people tuning in to the online and television coverage over the festival period shows a distinct interest in the event not just from New Zealand but around the world. More than 30 percent of the online audience of the Māori Television live stream were watching from Australia. The Festival was equally successful in attracting younger viewers with 71 percent of Māori Television website users aged between 18-44.
The full Native Affairs story on the issue can be viewed below.