Paora Maxwell has been appointed the CEO of Māori Television.
After a long wait filled with speculation and controversy, Māori Television staff were finally informed this morning who their new CEO was by Māori TV Board Chair Georgina Te Heuheu.
MTS Chair, Georgina te Heuheu, said Mr Maxwell was selected by the Board following a thorough and methodical recruitment process.
“Mr Maxwell articulated a clear vision for how he sees MTS evolving as we head in to our second decade of broadcasting,” Mrs te Heuheu said.
The process of appointing a new CEO of Māori Television has been marred with controversy following reports that a number of staff had signed a petition against Maxwell getting the job. Former Māori TV CEO Jim Mather also cautioned the Board that Maxwell's appointment could possibly result in the loss of some senior staff.
On the eve of the announcement Labour MP Shane Jones released a press statement claiming Te Heuheu had interfered with the process. Jones claimed the appointment of Maxwell was a bid to reign in the news and current affairs department. In particular the current affairs show, Native Affairs after it's investigation into spending within Te Pātaka Ōhanga a subsidiary of the Kōhanga Reo Trust resulted in an independent review which has now been referred to the Serious Fraud Office by Education Minister, Hekia Parata.
Jones says, “The Kōhanga reo saga shows that effective Māori journalism can bring accountability. It is ridiculous to attack Native Affairs for the woes in the kōhanga and it is alarming to hear that the Māori TV board have been leaned on to ‘rein’ in the investigative work of that programme.”
However this morning Te Heuheu vehemently denied the accusations and when asked today if he was in fact there to reign in the news and current affairs department, Maxwell dismissed the claims. and told a media conference, "the last thing I want to do is 'reign' in news and current affairs."
The newly appointed CEO says, “ he is honoured and humbled to be in the position” and that he is not looking at making any "radical changes in the short term."
He also says, "MTS already makes some fantastic television. I look forward to working with the team at MTS to continue to build this unique and innovative broadcaster into a world class television station”
Paora Maxwell takes over in May from interim Chief Executive Alan Withirington who filled the role after Jim Mather's departure to become CEO of Te Wananga o Aotearoa.
Tonight Te Kāea will bring you all the details on the appointment and the broad range of perspectives surrounding it.