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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, August 30, 2007

TVNZ to treble Maori programming

Television New Zealand plans to almost treble its Maori programming.

The state broadcaster today unveiled its new Maori strategy, including the creation of a Maori programming commissioner.

Whai Ngata, the head of Maori Programmes Whai Ngata, says the strategy is conditional on support from funding agencies Te Mangai Paho and New Zealand On Air.

He says TV One and Two currently show 167 hours of Maori programming, which goes up to 300 hours, with another 190 hours on its new digital channel.

Mr Ngata says the change signals a mainstreaming of Maori programmes into TVNZ's core business of providing local content.

“TVNZ wants to be a local content leader in terms of programming and I’m talking about local content in general, and to be that it has to look at the encouragement of more Maori programmes in its schedule,” Mr Ngata says.

Many of the new shows will be made by independent production houses.


Aotearoa New Zealand needs a fresh dialogue about its race relations.
That's the thinking behind a new draft statement released this week by the Race Relation Commissioners.

Manuka Henare, one of the document's authors, says it covers a lot of ground, including a claim the Treaty of Waitangi is the foundation for racial equality.

He says the society is becoming increasingly diverse, and while its national identity still draws on its bicultural roots, other cultures are having an influence.

“We say in the document that some of the ideas will provoke some discussion. Some people disagree. Some will like the ideas. But the point is to have the dialogue, and as we say, seek common ground,” Dr Henare says.

The Race Relations Commission hopes to get a statement finalised by next August's Diversity Forum.


A Waikato University lecturer is looking at the history of the piano in Maori life.

Kristine Moffatt says her research was prompted by Jane Campion's film The Piano, which portrayed Maori as childlike and surprised when they saw the instrument for the first time.

In fact Maori quickly adopted the piano to their music making.

Dr Moffatt will share some of her research at the university's Tauranga campus next Tuesday as part of its Musical encounters in Aotearoa spring lecture series.

She'll include stories about Apirana Ngata's piano and occasions where pianos were brought onto marae to accompany poi and haka.

“Through looking at the piano, I can look at this object that had been brought by Europeans to New Zealand but Maori became interested in it and enjoyed learning to play, but also kind of made it their own,” Dr Moffatt says.

Her research will eventually be turned into a book.


The head of a Northland iwi radio station says Maori radio is well placed for the shift to digital broadcasting.

Broadcasters from across the country have been in Wellington this week for a seminar on digital radio broadcasting strategies.

Mike Kake from Radio Ngati Hine says a shift is inevitable, and the question now is about what transmission platform is appropriate for the country.

But he says a $3.4 million capital injection into the iwi radio network a year ago is giving Maori a head start.

“We're installing with the capital Axia which is a digital on air studio program, already digital, so it’s digital compatible, so when they do go to the jump to the digital platforms on the transmission sites, iwi radio’s in a good position,” Mr Kake says.


New Zealand First's spokesperson Rod Mark wants to know if a double standard is operating over Dunedin's Undie 500 riot.

Mr Mark says it's not the first time students have caused mayhem on the streets of the south.

He says compared with the reaction to recent incidents involving Maori, police and public seem to be treating the whole thing as a joke.

“If a riot of this sort had occurred in Waitara or in Gisborne, people would be expecting people to be dealt with severely by the police. There is one law for all, There is one standard. And just because you happen to be one of those privileged few to be given the opportunity to go to med school in Otago, doesn’t mean to say that you should get special treatment or special privileges in the eyes of the law,” Mr Mark says.

He says playtime is over for the Otago and Christchurch students and it's time to face the law.


Rallying's most experienced Maori driver is trading in his racing leathers for a microphone at this year's rally of New Zealand, which starts tonight at Mystery Creek in Hamilton.

Marty Rostenburg, from Ngati Kahungunu holds 13 New Zealand motorsport titles and raced in the event in 2005.

Instead of racing around the backroads of the Waikato, he'll be a presenter of Sky Sports coverage of the 11th round of the world rally Championship.

The fastest Maori in motorsport says he would have jumped at the chance to compete against the worlds best, including as Sebastian Lobe and Marcus Gronholm, but this year it wasn't to be.

“There's a lot required to complete a campaign like competing in Rally New Zealand. Unfortunately we weren’t able to pull the deal together this year, so a couple of buddies asked me if I could give a hand out with a couple of their jobs in the rally. If you can’t be at the waka and behind the tiller, you my as well be behind the scenes and making it happen for the other folks,” Mr Rostenburg says.

One of the highlights of this year’s Rally of New Zealand is a special leg dedicated to the late Possum Bourne.


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