Topic: Te Reo Māori

Te Mātawai appoints first representative to Māori TV board

By Talisa Kupenga

Te Mātāwai has appointed Māori language advocate Kingi Kiriona as its first Māori Television Service Board representative. The network welcomed Kiriona's appointment despite his public criticism of the station through a haka at Te Matatini 2015.

Māori language advocate Kingi Kiriona is honoured by his appointment.

"Everyone plays a part- the wider tribes, the Māori language stakeholder groups and Te Mātawai.  I am very humbled to be chosen". 

Te Mātawai backs Kiriona.  He has worked in print and iwi radio and also as a reporter, director and Māori language consultant at TVNZ.

Te Mātawai Chief Executive, Te Atarangi Whiu says, "He is more than capable because he has all the skills".

At Matatini 2015 Kiriona and his group Te Iti Kahurangi challenged Māori Television through a haka performance to ensure it remains Māori in the way it operates. 

Māori Television did not publish the haka online until three days after the performance.

Kiriona says, "That haka was a way for me to express my thoughts and feelings towards Māori Television at that time, but that issue has now passed".

Whiu says, "It is a new day in a new world for the Māori language.  What we all need to focus on- Te Mātawai and Māori Television- is the common goal here which is to revitalise the Māori language".

Māori Television welcomed Kiriona's appointment but would not comment about the haka, saying it had moved on from that episode.

Kiriona says he is lucky for the opportunity, "It is not often you get this chance.  It is rare that a composer of a haka like that is given the opportunity to work together to find solutions for the very issues raised so that is why I am so humbled by the appointment".

Kiriona replaces Māori language advocate Piripi Walker and begins his three-year term on April 10.