Dump God Defend New Zealand – Broadcaster Peter Williams

Veteran TVNZ broadcaster Peter Williams wants the English of the New Zealand national anthem dumped for the reo Māori version only .

The seasoned sports and news presenter says that after 41 years of celebrating Māori Language Week, the New Zealand Rugby Union needs to be courageous and consider dropping the English version.

“Somebody needs to be bold enough to take the first step. Drop the English language verse off the back of it. For a start, it will fasten things up, quicken things up before a match starts because it just goes on and on and really do we need to come up with phrases like ‘shafts of strife and war’ and ‘entreating our voices’?  I mean what the heck does that mean? Give me a bit of E Īhoa Atua any day,” he said.

Williams recalled being in the crowd at Twickenham Stadium, London, when Māori songstress, Hinewehi Mohi, sung the anthem in te reo at the 1999 World Cup.

“You could almost hear the fear of the Pākehā supporters in the crowd and I thought gee what an awful attitude to have. Now I think we’re ready to take the next step. It’s been what 17 years since that night at Twickenham?”

Williams was speaking on Māori Television’s digital news show, Kawe Kōrero: Reporters, with his mokopuna, Victor, sitting beside him. 

He challenged his own TVNZ network to begin using reo Māori greetings more regularly on air.

“I really think that there’s got to be a lot more engagement from the national broadcasters in te reo and I think that just one week a year doesn’t cut the mustard.  I really think the national broadcasters do have a responsibility. Sure there’s going to be pushback from the audience but I think we’ll overcome that in time.”

Kawe Kōrero: Reporters speaks to broadcasters across the country, dissecting events and exploring the behind the scenes of newsgathering week nights on Te Reo channel 6.30pm, with subtitled replays on Māori Television 11.00pm.