Former broadcaster and academic Ella Henry is urging Māori politicians to work collaboratively to ensure the true aspirations of Māori Television are realised.
This comes after the network's CEO Paora Maxwell announced his resignation to staff today.
Both Maxwell and Henry spoke to Kawe Kōrero Reporters about the resignation and Māori TV’s future.
Henry says, “I’ve known Paora for many years and I’ve no doubt that if he’s taken this move it’s for good reason.”
She says she’s more concerned about the channel than who is CEO.
Henry points out there’s been “nowhere near this level of intervention” by political leaders in any other platform for revitalizing te reo Māori, like there has been at Māori Television.
She says, “The number of Ministers that the channel’s been accountable to, the fact the Crown agencies – regardless of the fact that they have Māori names – like Te Puni Kōkiri and Te Māngai Pāho, have systematically and underfunded and controlled this channel for far too many years.”
Speaking candidly to presenter Kawe Roes, Maxwell says he knew it was going to be a challenge when he took up the job in 2014.
He says, “You know I was perfectly aware that there was going to be a lot of criticism. There were all sorts of accusations being made around my appointment way back then. But I’ve got a bit of a flack jacket on so it doesn’t really affect me as it might someone else.”
Maxwell met with staff this morning to tell them personally of his decision to leave. He revealed that his father was now in care and it was time to prioritise time with his family.
Three years in the role at Māori Television made a big impact on the veteran broadcaster after 30 years in the game.
He says, “I felt very emotional. I love this place and I love the kaupapa of Whakaata Māori. I love the fact that our kaimahi love the kaupapa of Whakaata Māori. So I was sad. Nevertheless I have committed myself to the decision that I made.”
Maxwell’s advice to the next CEO is to stick to the kaupapa and try not get involved in the politics.
He says, “Try to bring the best recommendations to the board table. Work hard to work with the board.”
A number of staff stood up at this morning's announcement and thanked Maxwell for the opportunities he had brought to Māori Television.
During his tenure Maxwell introduced strategic direction, multi-platform development, the successful annual Matariki awards honouring New Zealanders as well as increased training for staff and career development.