Topic: Entertainment

Māori Affairs Select Committee puts Māori Television under microscope

By Maiki Sherman
  • Wellington

Māori Television was today put under the microscope by the Māori Affairs Select Committee (MASC) and they certainly weren't lacking in discussion points.

Those included were the possible relocation of the station, government funding, right down to the controversial haka by Te Iti Kahurangi.

Māori Television celebrated its 10th birthday nearly a year ago, and there is certainly much to be proud of.

However, as well as successes, there have also been challenges and some of those were scrutinised today.

The heads of Māori Television arrived and that's exactly what Metiria Turei was after.

Metiria Turei asked Paora Maxwell, “Who made the decision to censor the haka of Te Iti Kahurangi?”

Paora Maxwell responded saying, “What motivated me really was the protection and the mana of Māori Television, and protection of the mana of people working there.”

A public uproar erupted following a decision not to include this haka by Te Iti Kahurangi into a Māori Television highlights package.  Not long after it was included.

The question raised was whether the broadcaster has a policy around such decisions.

Paora Maxwell says, “We are guided by all sorts of considerations including consideration of reputational damage.”

The possible relocation of the "Home of Haka" - Māori Television, was also quizzed.

The broadcaster has projected a loss over the next two years of about $800,000, citing the establishment of its digital platform.

Indeed, the message to the government was for more funding, however the station will continue on.

Te Tumu Paeroa (TTP) also appeared before MASC.  They manage about 100,000 hectares of Māori land.

There's a similar number of land owners and chief executive Jamie Tuuta says it's making contact with them, which is one of the difficulties.

TTP says a more seamless exchange of information with the Māori Land Court is required.  TTP is also among those expanding its digital platform in the hope of better owner engagement.  In a recent survey, owner satisfaction with TTP dropped by 7%, down to 52%.