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Maori Television Secures Rights To Maori Rugby

Media Release

Monday 24 May 2004

Maori Television Secures Exclusive Rights To Maori Rugby: Churchill Cup

Maori Television has secured exclusive rights to live broadcasts of the NZ Maori games at the Churchill Cup tournament in Canada on Sunday 13 June and Sunday 20 June 2004.

The broadcasts represent the first ever live international television telecast exclusively in the Maori language for any event.

A coup for the channel, it has also negotiated replay rights with SKY Sport for the Black Ferns games on the same days, as part of the same quadrangular tournament.

Maori Television CEO, Ani Waaka, said Maori Television’s coverage of the Churchill Cup signalled the channel’s intention to showcase Maori sport at international, national and regional levels.

“Sport is an area of significant achievement for Maori, and is a field of high participation and interest for the majority of Maori. We will meet this viewer need by broadcasting as many of the on-field battles and successes of Maori sports teams and athletes as possible.”

Maori Television broadcasts free-to-air via UHF and Digital Satellite.

Executive Producer of Sport, Bailey Mackey, said the channel’s coverage of the Churchill Cup brought about an unprecedented opportunity to broadcast live international Maori rugby in the Maori language.

“This is definitely a coup for Maori Television,” said Mackey. “There are no sports teams that epitomise Maori contribution to sport more than the NZ Maori rugby team and the World Champion Black Ferns team. We’re fortunate that this is a co-production between Maori Television and Sky – the major players in the New Zealand sports broadcasting market - and it signals our intention to become another sports broadcasting player.”

Coach of the NZ Maori team, Matt Te Pou: “It’s important that through Maori Television the exploits of our Maori team can be seen by those at home. These boys are role models and inspirational to rangatahi and they can now be seen on Maori Television.”

The Churchill Cup was established in 2001 after a five year agreement between Rugby Canada, Rugby USA and the Rugby Football Union (England) to hold an annual rugby tournament in North America between the nations Senior Men’s and Women’s sides.

After a successful tour of Canada last year, the NZ Maori and Black Ferns were invited to join the tournament.

The first weekend of the tournament sees the NZ Maori up against the USA, with the Black Ferns also facing the USA the following day. Weekend two of the tournament, to be broadcast in New Zealand on Sunday 20 June, features third and fourth place play-offs and the men’s and women’s finals.

Maori Television sports presenter and award-winning sports commentator Julian Wilcox, together with Bailey Mackey, will provide the live game commentary from Canada along with stories for the channel’s nightly news programme Te Kaça. The channel will also broadcast its sports news bulletin out of Edmonton, Canada, on Saturday 19 June.


Tune in to Maori Television. Call 0800 MA TATOU (0800 62 82868) for assistance

Launch Date - 28 March 2004

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