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Mâori Language Week Awards

14 September 2004

TVNZ has won the overall Supreme Award and Television Media Award at the Mâori Language Week Awards.

Judy Bailey greeting in Mâori on primetime news, and presenters incorporating Mâori within their shows created quite a stir during Maori Language Week held 26 July to 01 August. Particularly after the news, hundreds of calls and emails with comments poured in from viewers.

“The theme of the week was ‘give it a go’ and we certainly did that,” says Hone Edwards, TVNZ’s Kaihautu. “These two awards are testament to our on-going commitment toward the language. As TVNZ's Kaihautu, I am extremely proud of the way our on-air presenters celebrated the theme, Körero Mäori! These awards belong to them and their on-going commitment to using the language on air.”

The Media Awards recognised outstanding promotional activities or events organised and/or publicised by a television, radio or print media organisation to support Mâori Language Week 2004. Judges looked at how TVNZ demonstrated a commitment to Mâori Language Week, how innovative it was using Mâori Language in programming, how much it used the theme ‘give it a go’, and what promotional activities were organised by TVNZ with events, guests, features and competitions.

In the judging process, the effort that announcers made with pronunciation, entertainment value, originality and audience feedback was also factored in. “Some people didn’t like the idea of using Mâori language and took offence. However, we were very excited with the positive response too. It was a brave thing for TVNZ to do something like this. But part of our obligation as a broadcaster is to embrace Mâori culture. Celebrating Maori language and culture on air during Mâori Language Week is an intrinsic part of that process.”

TVNZ’s submission for the Award incorporated a series of clips of presenters using Mâori during the week, along with personal viewpoints from some TVNZ celebrities including Alison Mau, Judy Bailey, Paul Holmes, Susan Wood, Mike Puru, Neil Waka and Simon Dallow. Many of them talked about how Maori language was a part of New Zealand culture and should be incorporated into everyday things – such as the news. Sunday, ASB Business, Tonight, Holmes, Studio 2, Flipside, Marae, Te Karere and Agenda were among many of the programmes utilising Mâori language that week.

“We will broadcast more great New Zealand programmes and that means seeing more of ourselves on air, providing more Maori content that is appropriate for Maori audiences and packaged for our mainstream viewers,” says Mr Edwards.

For the Supreme Award, events, promotion, community participation, community feedback and media coverage were factored into judging. Part of TVNZ’s strategy had a strong internal focus, and staff at TVNZ also enjoyed a large array of activities during the week. Tattoo artists and basket weavers demonstrated their craft in the TVNZ Auckland Television Centre atrium, and daily Maori music performances were broadcast to staff nationally via an internal channel. The in-house Intranet home page featured a word of the day and a weekly competition.

A panel that included representatives from the Maori Language Commission and the Human Rights Commission judged the nine awards and five categories. Finalists ranged from schools, regional councils, and newspapers to universities and broadcasters.


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