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Maori Television Trust Says Progress Hamstrung


Te Awhiorangi

Te Reo Maori Television Trust
PO Box 12607
Thorndon, Wellington

Embargoed For Use 25 June 2001

MEDIA STATEMENT
ATT: Maori Affairs Reporters
Broadcasting Reporters
Political Reporters

Maori Television Trust Says Progress Hamstrung By Govt Silence

The Te Reo Maori Television Trust, Te Awhiorangi, today expressed grave concern at what it says is a continued wall of silence and inaction by Government regarding the establishment of a Maori television channel.

Acting chairman Hemi Toia said the Trust had the mandate of Maori broadcasters, te reo Maori interest groups and national Maori organisations to work with the Government to get a te reo Maori television channel up and running by January 2002 – a date publicly reiterated by the Maori Affairs Minister last month.

“However, despite repeated attempts to get this process moving and in view of public statements by the government about the urgency of the matter, the Trust has had no communication from the Prime Minister,” he said.

“The Trust stands by its commitment to Maori broadcasters that it will do its utmost to provide a robust Maori controlled and managed business structure for the channel, that allows for joint venture partners and iwi relationships, and a 10 Year Management Right to reserved frequencies.

“Understandably, we are watching with interest as information comes to light about uncertainties surrounding TVNZ and BCL - companies the Government has apparently indicated it favours as potential joint venture partners for the Maori television service.

The Government’s articulated commitment to get the service on air is at odds with its seeming unwillingness to come to the table,” said Hemi Toia
“ The Government’s silence and inaction is seriously jeopardising and hindering progress towards negotiations with prospective broadcast companies and other related parties so we can move towards creating the Maori television channel.”

Hemi Toia said that despite several years of delays and arduous negotiations thus far, the Trust was determined to contribute to both the revitalisation of te reo Maori and to broadcasting a unique and broader perspective of life in Aotearoa for all New Zealanders to enjoy.

Te Awhiorangi trustees are Hemi Toia (Acting Chairman) Robyn Bargh, Patu Hohepa, Ella Henry and Bev Adlam.

The Trustees were appointed by an Electoral College comprising representatives of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori (Maori Language Commission); Te Kohanga Reo National Trust, Te Runanga o Nga Kura Kaupapa Maori; Nga Aho Whakaari (Maori TV Producers); Te Whakaruruhau o Nga Reo Irirangi Maori (Iwi Radio Network); Kawea Te Rongo (Maori Journalists Association) and Te Ataarangi Inc.

Ends

For further information contact: Ani Waaka, Project Manager, Te Awhiorangi, Te Reo Maori Television Trust. Telephone 04 476-9022 or 025 294 9648

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