Minister concerned about RNZ Māori content

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Concerns about the lack of Māori content by state radio broadcaster Radio New Zealand (RNZ) has seen Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell meeting with Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams. The urgent meeting comes after an audit conducted by Radio Wātea showed that over two weeks, only an hour and a half was Māori content.

Māori radio pioneer Haare Williams says RNZ's lack of Māori content is a continuation of the suppression of Māori culture, “It's just wrong. In plain terms, ‘We have been betrayed”, since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, when the Queen's flag was erected at Point Britomart and Hobson, we have been disrespected and suppressed.”

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says RNZ's 0.1% Māori content is disgraceful, “It's not right, especially in this time and age. Māori have long fought for time in the media.”

Chairman of the Māori Radio Network, Te Whakaruruhau, Willie Jackson says RNZ needs to be made accountable, “It's just wrong and we are tired of it. That's why I have challenged RNZ. It's okay to have content about everyone else, but they've forgotten about Māori.”

Head of Content at RNZ Carol Hirschfeld declined an interview on camera.However, this statement was provided to us.

  • The figures provided are not a legitimate ‘audit’ of RNZ’s Māori news content.
  • The links have been cut and pasted from RNZ’s Te Manu Korihi web page only. Other RNZ news stories pertaining to Māori also appear on our national, political and regional web pages.  These have not been included in this so-called ‘audit’.
  • It is unclear what the numbers quoted by Mr Jackson mean. His calculation of 99 minutes seems to be a crude totalling of the durations from audio embedded in the TMK web  stories.  This is of course in no way accurately reflects the full breadth of Māori news content broadcast on RNZ daily during the time stipulated by Mr Jackson.
  • Mr Jackson previously lost a contract to supply RNZ with Māori news content in 2011.
  • RNZ has a serious commitment to Māori news, as was evident at Waitangi.  RNZ sent a team of five journalists to cover political, iwi and other general Waitangi related events. This team of reporters delivered for web, radio and Freeview television providing comprehensive coverage for five days.

Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has met with Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams on the issue and will also be meeting with RNZ.