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Board Member Resigns to Protect Maori TV Service

Board Member Resigns to Protect Maori Television Service

Tena koutou, nga mihi o te wa ki a koutou katoa.

The resignation of Dr Leonie Pihama (Te Atiawa, Ngati Mahanga, Nga Mahanga a Tairi) from the Maori Television Service Board was tendered last night, effective immediately, to the board of Te Putahi Paoho (The Maori Electoral College).

Dr Pihama has been serving on the Board for close to three years and has tendered her resignation in light of an employment issue involving a member of her whanau.

Dr Pihama states that “although correct procedures have been followed, there is growing media speculation about my role in discussions about the issue”. What is clear, states Dr Pihama, is that “Maori Television is a kaupapa that must be protected and my resigning is a part of ensuring support for the kaupapa. It’s about doing the right thing, that’s what tikanga Maori requires. However, it should not be misconstrued or misrepresented”.

Furthermore she notes “The reality is that I can not trust mainstream media to cover this issue with integrity, therefore I wish to make it absolutely clear that the potential for a conflict of interest was raised some months ago with the board and as a result of that I have absented myself from all discussions regarding the employment issue. I am well aware of my duties as a Director to operate in the best interests of the organisation and irrespective of what the media may say a clear and professional process has been followed.”

In commenting further on her resignation Dr Pihama emphasised that “my concern is two fold, firstly for our whanau and their wellbeing, which is my priority at this time, and secondly for the kaupapa of te reo Maori and Maori broadcasting. It has been a long road to getting where we are today and people have put themselves on the line for the sake of seeing a station like this go to air and we need to be vigilant in securing its future. The organisations involved in Te Putahi Paoho have been key in this movement and I have been honoured to represent them over this period ”.

Commenting finally on the future of Maori Television Dr Pihama states “I know it will be here for our tamariki and mokopuna because there is an unbending commitment to the survival and revival of te reo and tikanga Maori amongst our people”. Dr Pihama also confirms her ongoing commitment to contributing to Maori Television in the future.

Dr Pihama has extensive experience in Maori Education and Maori Broadcasting and is a renowned scholar and researcher within the Maori community. She is currently the Director of The International Research Institute for Maori and Indigenous Education.

No further comment will be given on this issue.

Kia ora.


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