Māori programming cut backs anticipated at TVNZ

Māori broadcasters and political leaders are predicting the possible demise of Māori programming at TVNZ amidst its restructure.

Greens co-party leader Metiria Turei spoke to Kawe Kōrero Reporters and when asked if she thinks TVNZ’s current restructuring will affect its Māori programming she says “of course”.

She says, “TVNZ as I understand is intending to get rid of their Māori commissioner.”

“So if Māori do not have access to a Māori commissioner to be able to get that advice we will see much less Māori programming on the TVNZ stations.”

Turei says, “What we will see if this proposal goes ahead is less and less Māori focussed television on TVNZ.

“And that is a complete breach of their Treaty obligations and their obligations to the public given they get so much public funding.”  

However, a spokesperson from TVNZ says “Our programming line up is not under review. We are not proposing to make changes to our current line-up which includes programmes like Te Karere, Marae, Waka Huia.”

Pioneer Māori broadcaster Derek Fox set up TVNZ’s Te Karere news team during its inception in 1983 and he told Kawe Kōrero Reporters he doesn’t believe the reo Māori news show will survive.

He says, “I believe they are thinking, Māori Television is over there so why not take the Māori programmes to them to broadcast.

“The problem with that is that this channel and the radio station, which are named Radio New Zealand and Television New Zealand, and are not specifically just for Pākehā, that's the problem.

“When you look back, if they only broadcast Pākehā content, then they are breaking the law.”

Fox says, “Most of you may have forgotten the hard fought battles we've had to get Māori on air in the early days.

“Some of us actually went to the highest court in London, the Privy Council. So to hear that they may be going back to their old ways is very disheartening.”

TVNZ says it’s still in consultation with its stakeholders and staff before any major changes are discussed later this month.