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Horomia: Te Whakaruruhau o Ngä Reo Irirangi Maori

Hon Parekura Horomia Minister of Mâori Affairs

Speech notes prepared for

Te Whakaruruhau o Ngä Reo Irirangi Maori, AGM

Te Kohanga National Trust 67 Hamkey Street, WELLINGTON

Tuesday 3 May, 2005


It’s good to see some familiar faces here this evening, as it was a couple of months ago when most of us were gathered at the Mâori Media Awards in Rotorua.

I want to congratulate Te Korimako o Taranaki, Awa FM, Tai 92FM, Mai Media Limited, Te Reo Irirangi o te Manuka Tutahi, and Te Reo Irirangi o te Hiku o te Ika on your success at the Awards night.

I also pay tribute to those people who were recognised for their contribution to Mâori radio, Huirangi, Apikara, Hone and Emare.

I said at the Awards night, that I believed the Mâori broadcasting industry deserved a long-term commitment to give it a solid footing in the future.

I mentioned there were issues to grapple with. Like gaps in coverage and outdated broadcasting equipment. These have adversely affected the quality of our stations’ community broadcasting.

For Mâori radio to come into its own - and be a powerful catalyst for communities I reiterated that it must have the tools necessary to make a success of the job.

Tonight I am therefore pleased to announce that we will be providing additional funding for Mâori radio in the upcoming budget. $3.4million (GST exc) will be allocated over the next two years to upgrade your broadcasting equipment. The identification of broadcasting as one of the optimum means for the revitalisation of te reo Maori makes it imperative that the Maori radio industry remains sustainable. This funding will enable Maori radio stations to maintain a competitive footing with your industry counterparts and to meet the expectations of an increasingly sophisticated Maori audience.

Te Mângai Paho will administer this funding in conjunction with their existing systems for funding Mâori radio. This funding recognises that Mâori radio must continue to meet the demands of an increasingly sophisticated listening audience.

It also recognises that Mâori radio has and continues to present incalculable opportunities for the promotion and exposure of te reo Mâori as well as benefits in terms of business, professional, and community outcomes.

The calibre of entries in this year’s Mâori Media Awards is patent evidence to me that Mâori radio broadcasting is in good hands.

The entries were exemplars of the type of success I am committed to encouraging as Minister of Mâori Affairs. My focus is on ‘Mâori succeeding as Mâori’. That means Mâori people being successful and playing a full part in all domains of life without compromising what it means to be Mâori.

Rather than the deficit-emphasis of the past I believe it’s time to claim our positive achievements – and to focus on “Mâori succeeding as Mâori”.

That message was heartily emphasised at the 2005 Hui Taumata. We were reminded that back in 1984 there were no Mâori broadcasting services.

We have come a long way since the first Hui Taumata in 1984. Prior to that time, much of our energies were focused on addressing our historical situation. Even though New Zealand was once a country in which everyone spoke te reo Maori, including whalers, sealers, traders missionaries and the first settlers, by the 70's we were struggling to be recognised as a people with a distinct language and culture.

The message of the first Hui Taumata was clear. Maori had to be empowered to initiate, design and deliver their own solutions.

"By Mâori for Mâori" has had its greatest impact on the survival of our language and culture. By the 1970s, academics were predicting the death of the Maori language within a generation. It was predicted that "Maori would be a language without native speakers" once the present generation of Maori speaking parents had passed on.

We know that it was fear of a dying language that led Mâori to establish the Ataarangi kohanga reo and kura kaupapa movements in the early 1980s, and later to widen this focus to include broadcasting. In 1983, Mâori language education was in its infancy, it has since experienced phenomenal growth and development. Hundreds of young people have emerged from institutions like te kohanga reo and are now coming out of secondary school including kura kaupapa with a high degree of fluency and with a knowledge and understanding of who they are.

In the mid-eighties the Te Mâori exhibition toured the USA to international acclaim and then came home to be seen for the first time by many New Zealanders. Mâori writers and artists came into greater prominence. The eyes of the world, indeed the eyes of New Zealand were suddenly opened. The establishment of the Mâori Television Service now compliments Iwi radio and brings Mâori language and culture every day into the nation's homes.

The position of Mâori language and culture in the modern world is now assured.

Annually around $70 million of Vote Mâori Affairs is positioned to give effect to Mâori language outcomes. This includes the operational money for Te Taura Whiri, Te Mangai Paho and the Mâori Television Service. It includes the money set aside for producing televison and radio programming in the Mâori language and for Maori audiences. This is no small investment for any government to make and has only come into Vote Mâori Affairs since 1999.

Working together Mâori and this Government have achieved a great deal. Our country and our people are very different from what they were twenty, ten and even five years ago.

The first Hui Taumata also saw a sound economic base as crucial in shifting from dependency and in ensuring our social and economic survival. Highlights on the economic front have been the growth in capability of Mâori managers and the accompanying asset base that has occurred, the increase in the number of Mâori who own their own businesses and the rise of the Maori corporates and their engagement with mainstream and international businesses.

So, essentially you have all the tools, the management expertise within your reach. My challenge to you is to use these tools and to maximise the potential of the Mâori language in contemporary times.

Our people are developing the skills that support their participation and achievement in te ao Mâori, and as global citizens. 20,000 Mâori are in some type of industry training. Our numbers in early childhood education have almost trebled since 1983. And although this is still not high enough, it is a strong start.

Our tertiary rates are now high with numbers 15 times what they were nearly 20 years ago. But enrolments are clustered in lower level courses. Our challenge is to lift the level of study and qualification being achieved.

Our demographics tell us the state of Mâoridom is now one of youthful intelligence, energy and expectancy. Combined with a growing economy this creates a positive context for future prosperity.

We have to keep moving forward. We cannot lose momentum. We must be ready to embrace any new challenges that lie ahead. Like the fact that today there are approximately 600,000 Mâori in New Zealand. That’s one in seven people. By 2021 it’s estimated we will number 800,000. That’s one in every six New Zealanders. Within two decades of Te Upoko o te Ika going to air as a pilot in Wellington we have 23 iwi radio stations and a Mâori Television Service. What a stunning journey!

And while we can pat ourselves on the back we have to keep looking ahead too!

Your task is to move to the next level – whether that be in professional development, extending your coverage, developing programming that meets your audiences needs so that they too can unlock, unleash and realise their potential.

You are a model of ‘Mâori succeeding as Mâori’. I salute you all and I look forward to your ongoing contribution as we plot the way forward for Mâori radio broadcasting.

Go well, stay strong and continue to make Mâori proud on the airwaves! Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui!


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