Tapatahi - Digital First Strategy

Covid-19 has been and continues to be an unprecedented period for organisations and their kaimahi throughout Aotearoa and around the world. These unprecedented times have called for unprecedented measures in our response to what will undoubtedly be the most challenging and disruptive period we will ever face.

Covid-19 has forced businesses around the world to find new and more adaptive ways of working given the challenges faced. As the unprecedented situation continues to evolve, Māori Television continues to evolve and adapt with it.

18 months prior to the impact of Covid-19, Māori Television set out to ensure that the organisation was future fit, outcomes-focused and audience centric, in its pursuit to create great Māori content that inspires audiences to learn and use te reo.

Amidst these trying times, we continue with our core focus to implement our ‘Digital-First’ strategy; requiring us to think differently about how we work and where we invest our resource. Covid-19 has presented many challenges, but it has also offered us an opportunity to test and pilot our ‘Digital-First’ strategy, finding more innovative and effective ways of delivering content. This strategy is driven by data insights that highlight the changing needs and consumption habits of our audiences, especially Māori who are younger and more inclined to be online and using a handheld device.

Tapatahi is one of many news and general programmes that was set up in response to Covid-19 as the country moved from Alert Level Three to Alert Level Four. The programme was initially designed to be a weekly 30-minute news programme that provided Māori specific messaging to Māori communities and individuals to help them stay safe and well during the Covid-19 pandemic. As with all of Māori Television’s News and Current Affairs programmes, Tapatahi is subject to the same high-level of editorial rigour.

In light of Covid-19 restrictions, the speed at which a new bilingual programme needed to be set up and Shane Taurima’s unique experience as a former TVNZ news and current affairs presenter, it was decided that he would fulfil the role in the short term. He has not received any additional payment for this presenter work.

As with most media organisations the CEO is the Editor in Chief who has final responsibility for its operations and policies. While it is not common for the Editor in Chief to be working in the newsroom, Covid-19 has required leaders across Aotearoa and the globe to step into the front line. The pandemic has called for unprecedented measures in unprecedented times.

Tapatahi has seen an increase of 300% in audience engagement, its popularity led us to begin the search for new presenters in April during Alert Level Three. The programme is currently presented by veteran journalists Wena Harawira and Billie Jo Hohepa-Ropiha. Māori Television will announce our new line up in the coming weeks.

Part of our ‘Digital-First’ strategy proposes to increase our news content which includes offering regular news updates across the day, extending our current 6:30pm television news show from 30 to 60 minutes and offering content across our digital platforms.

Māori Television announced phase two of our ‘Digital-First’ newsroom transformation project in December 2019 and have been working with kaimahi and partners to learn from our experience during lockdown, build on our success to date by delivering high quality news that matters to Māori, anytime, anywhere and on any device.

Māori Television was invited to attend the Epidemic Response Committee meeting on the afternoon prior to the meeting taking place, despite other media organisations being given one week's notice. This was not enough time for the Senior Leadership Team to prepare an appropriate oral response and so a written response was provided to the Committee the following day.

Māori Television is excited to continue our delivery of engaging, entertaining and relevant content to our audiences in a way that is accessible across diverse platforms. Content that ensures te ao Māori is thriving and encourages audiences and whānau to engage with and learn te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

Māori Television - Please attribute this statement to a Māori Television spokesperson.