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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, March 28, 2008

Maori TV launches te reo channel

Kaumatua, kuia and kura kaupapa kids are the target of a new Maori language channel launched today.

It's Maori Television's fourth birthday, and its present to viewers is a commercial free te reo only channel broadcasting from eight to eleven each night.

Chief executive Jim Mather says the existing channel will retain its mix of Maori and English.

The new channel is designed with fluent and intermediate speakers and total immersion households in mind.

“The traditional fluent speaking, older audience, many of whom will be based in rural areas as well, so they make up a key past of what we call our core audience,” Mr Mather says.

Viewers of Te Reo will need Sky Digital or a Freeview decoder.


Auckland University will today rededicate its James Henare Maori Research Centre.

The centre, which was set up in 1993 to advance cultural, social and economic development in the North, was put in recess four years ago.

Today's ceremony at Waipapa Marae will be attended by representatives of the Henare whanau and Ngati Hine.

The executive director, Te Tuhi Robust, says the relaunch follows a comprehensive look at the centre's role and resources, to see where it can be most effective.

“We've actually been out in the community and we’ve looked at many strategic plans and directions for example that each of the runanga are doing, particular treaty claimants, talking with whanau, individuals, where they see that a need is there that we can contribute or support to,” Dr Robust says.

Research projects include work on identity, rangatiratanga in practice, sustainable development, governance and Maori politics.


From its humble beginnings in Wairoa, the Maori Film Festival is spreading its wings.

After this year's festival in the Hawkes Bay town during Queen's Birthday weekend, selected films will be shown in Wellington, Auckland and Taumarunui.

Chairperson Huia Koziol says this year's theme is the environment - Te Karanga O Papatuanuku, Te Waiata O Te Whenua.

Featured films include The Neglected Miracle by the late Barry Barclay, Herdswoman, about indigenous Suomi herders of Lapland, and Blowin' in the Wind, about Australian Aborigines caught up in atom bomb tests.

Actor and director Don Selwyn will also be remembered with the screening of the classic comedy Came a Hot Friday.

“Don was one of our original patrons. He died, and so we are going to celebrate his participation in our festival, and one of our traveling shows will stop by Taumarunui, which is his home town, and we will have a special screening there,” Mrs Koziol says.

The festival was moved back to June to coincide with Matariki celebrations.


Labour Cabinet Minister Shane Jones is challenging National's Maori MPs to come clean on their party's plans for Maori Television.

Georgina te Heuheu has been attending the World Indigenous Television Broadcast Conference in Auckland, but refused to make any policy announcements.

Mr Jones says National had plans before the 1999 elections to privatise TVNZ, and it has blown hot and cold on the indigenous broadcasting industry.

“We know that they’re going to get rid of the Maori seats as the claims ebb away, and I fear that they will put Maori TV on the block or make a call for iwi to start paying for TV in a post-settlement phase. It’s just not good enough for them to wander around, gracing these hui but at the same time being conspicuously vague about what they are going to do about policy, so she needs to come clean and stop swanning around,” Mr Jones says.

He says it's only because of the support of the government that Mori Television was able to get the extra funding needed for a 100 percent Maori language channel, which will be launched today.


Maori Aids prevention campaigners are moving their efforts online.

They're launching a new site, BroOnline.co.nz, aimed at takataapui tane.

Jordon Harris from the Aids Foundation's Hau Ora Takataapui Maori health promotion team says the popularity of social networking sites like Bebo and Facebook is showing the way to reach a new generation who may not be aware of some of the risks of unsafe sexual behaviour.

He says Bro Online will include, profiles, chatrooms, and information.

“We also have a comic strip which follows a bro when he’s hooking up with men and talking up with issues about where you meet men like bars and places where we engage with our community and we also have virtual bro which talks about online health advice. We’re utilising the chatting social networking site to get out information out to a wider selection of the community,” Mr Harris says.

Ten Maori contracted HIV in 2007, a significant jump from the year before.


Te Ore Ore Marae east of Masterton is the scene for a revival of the Maori trade training scheme.

This afternoon a dozen rangatahi will start training as carpenters, and hope to land apprenticeships further down the track.

Mike Kawana from Rangitane ki Wairarapa says because of its community backing and marae setting, the Nga Kanohi project has more to offer than just trade skills

“It's also a way of introducing those who have gone off on the wrong tracks or they’ve lost what cultural background they had, bringing that back into place as far as a cultural base for everything is concerned, hence the marae being the base from which everything will focus on,” Mr Kawana says.


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