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Parekura Horomia Speech Notes - EIT, Napier

Speech Notes for Hon Parekura Horomia
AGM of Te Whakaruruhau I Nga Reo Irirangi Maori o Aotearoa
8 October 2001, Eastern Institute of Technology, Napier

Kia ora koutou katoa. Thank you for the opportunity to address your annual general meeting.

Mäori Broadcasting

Mäori have long been involved in broadcasting. I think we need to look at where we have come from, where we are currently at and where we need to go to. I am happy to say that we are moving out of the litigation age. Fish is an example of waste of time and money from the years spent in court. Most Mäori people are tired of it, they want to get out of court. They want to use the resources for progressive, positive developments. I think there is the same feeling around Mäori television and Mäori broadcasting. We need to be aware of the past, and move into the future.

Mäori Television

There are exciting developments occurring in Mäori broadcasting. One of my major priorities was to establish the Mäori television service. We launched it in July and appointed the directors, along with the Electoral College, last month.

I have always maintained that we need the best people for the job, regardless of who they are, or their political leanings. I cannot speak highly enough of Derek Fox, Hekia Parata, Craig Soper, Wayne Brown, Whaimutu Dewes, Joanna Paul and Wena Tait who have accepted the challenge of setting up the Maori television service. It will not be easy but I am absolutely confident that they will establish a robust, commercial and successful service.

Dual Accountability

I want to also acknowledge the Electoral College, and the chairperson Hone Harawira, who were prepared to participate in a completely new process to appoint the board of directors. I am proud of the fact that four of the directors have been appointed by Mäori and three by the Crown. This has never been done before and I think it worked because both sides were genuinely committed to positive and meaningful negotiations. I think there are other areas where we can establish similar models of dual accountability, particularly in the area of Mäori language and resources development.

Iwi Radio

While I have been constantly referring to Mäori television, I believe iwi radio have also played a significant role in communicating with their people and lifting Mäori visibility for the last 20 years.

Mäori radio is staffed principally by volunteers who do it because they love their work. Mäori listeners love Mäori radio because they hear their own language, own opinions, own waiata and even their own relations on air. In many places the iwi radio station is part of the fabric of the community. Iwi radio and television will help us develop and strengthen our own sense of place as tangata whenua.

Mäori Visibility and Information Needs

It is critical for Maori to see ourselves as a contributing part of New Zealand society. Maori can and want to participate. It is also critical for other New Zealanders to be aware of the value of Te Ao Maori. I believe Maori radio and television can and do educate and inform Maori and non-Maori. Mäori people need accurate and timely information to make the best choices for their whanau, hapu and iwi. The information needs range from notices of tangi and hui, through to financial investment, policy development and all other topics.

101-108 FM Frequencies

The Ministry of Economic Development has just completed a round of consultation on the use of 101-108 FM frequencies. The discussion document proposed to reserve sufficient frequency in the 101-104 part of the band for four national networks catering for:

- Maori radio
- National Radio
- Concert Radio
- Pacific Island radio.

I know that some of you met with Te Puni Kokiri and Ministry of Economic Development officials to discuss proposals. I know that a submission was received from the Whakaruruhau o Nga Reo Irirangi Mäori. MED are now being analysing the submissions and a report will be presented to Cabinet Policy committee by the end of this month.

Details of a Mäori radio network will need to be considered in further detail later on. But there is one thing I know. If Mäori are to make sure we want to be at the forefront of broadcasting, we must be FM.

The Maori Broadcasting Strategy

Work is currently underway to develop a Maori broadcasting strategy. Officials should report back to a Cabinet Committee soon with the draft Terms of Reference.

The Government’s primary objective with the Maori Broadcasting Strategy is to establish a set of common goals and a direction to ensure co-ordination and avert fragmentation of efforts by its agencies and Maori Groups in the future.

Mäori broadcasting could cover many things including Maori Television, Mäori radio, the Mäori trusts that hold the management rights for the radio spectrum on behalf of Maori (The Kaitiaki Trust holds a block of UHF frequency and te Huarahi Tika Trust controls the rights for a block of third generation mobile frequency). The place of Te Reo Mäori is an issue that needs to be considered, as does the role of Te Mangaii Paaho.

At this point, the draft Terms of Reference still have to be considered by Ministers, but I am hoping for the discussion paper to be ready for release by February or March 2002.

Info Technology

There is an increasing reliance on information communication technology solutions to enhance the effectiveness of social and economic interventions targeted at Maori. With the convergence of technologies providing new tools and blurring the edges of delivery mechanisms in these areas, broadcasting and telecommunications have taken on a new range of applications. Any Strategy must examine the implications of convergence in this context.

Ngati Porou East Coast Rugby

I want to talk about achieving success against all odds. This is something that iwi radio stations will be able to relate to. The success of the Ngati Porou East Coast rugby team has had a major impact on the region. People are inspired by the success, they are proud to be a Ngati, they are talking about a positive future, they are keen to get on and do things. It is important for us to harness this positiveness as part of the economic, social and cultural development for Mäori.

It doesn't matter whether the reason for this buzz is second division NPC rugby, or netball in Southland or tourism in Northland. The most important thing is that the community is on a roll and we, in central government, should harness it, work with it, assist it. I look forward to the East Coast Ngati Porou making the finals.

Conclusion

I am excited by the future. I want Mäori to be at the cutting edge of technological change. If we are to determine our own future, we need to be educated, informed and participating. We need to look positively at the role of Mäori media. Kia kaha tatou katoa.

ENDS

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