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Maori radio goes global

11 Nov 2003 Media Statement

Maori radio goes global

Listeners of Maori Radio will welcome the ability to tune into their local iwi station on the internet according to Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia.

Irirangi.net is being launched in Wellington this afternoon.

This new vehicle opens up a wide range of possibilities for the many dedicated listeners of Maori Radio as well as potential new audiences," said Parekura Horomia.

"This technology will allow whanau hapu and Iwi living outside of their tribal areas to listen to news and events at home.

"It will also open up Maori Radio to the global market via the internet. Maori living abroad will now be able to find their own iwi stations on the net while others living abroad will have access to indigenous Aotearoa programming."

Earlier this year Te Mangai Paho commissioned a survey of almost 28 thousand Maori which found that half of those living in areas covered by Maori radio were tuning in on a regular basis.

Maori Radio has led the broadcasting industry. In the past New Zealand artists struggled to get airplay on mainstream radio while Maori stations instituted self imposed quotas to ensure local artists were given higher airplay priority.

"13 years on we now see acts like Moana Maniapoto making a huge impact on the international scene. Hopefully Irirangi net will provide opportunities so that other Maori artists can launch long and successful careers," said Parekura Horomia.

*******

Maori Language Radio


WAI 11 – Te Reo Maori Claim

In 1986, the Waitangi Tribunal responded to a claim lodged by Huirangi Waikerepuru and Nga Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo (Inc) asking that the Maori language receive official recognition.

In reference to Article II of the treaty, the tribunal established that the Maori language is a taonga: “it is plain that the language is an essential part of culture and must be regarded as a valued possession”. This means that the Crown has an obligation to guarantee exclusive and undisturbed possession of this taonga. “The word guarantee imposes an obligation to take active steps within the power of the guarantor, if it appears that the Maori people do not have or are losing, the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of the taonga.” (1986 Report of the Waitangi Tribunal into the WAI 11 ‘Te Reo Maori’ Claim)

The Crown and Maori accept that the language is now in a “perilous state”. In regard to broadcasting, the tribunal stated:

“If we were to conclude that the Maori language has been harmed by the predominance of English on radio and television, and if we were to conclude further that Article II of the Treaty promises that the Maori language was not only to be guaranteed but to be protected by the Crown by virtue of the provisions of the Treaty, then we could well conclude that the Minister has "omitted to do" an act within the meaning of section 6 of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975, viz. that he has omitted to exercise his power to give a direction under Sec 20 by which that harm could be alleviated. This we say would give us the statutory right to intervene in this matter. But before we exercise our authority we must consider the concurrent jurisdiction of the Broadcasting Tribunal and the Royal Commission … In its widest sense the Treaty promotes a partnership in the development of the country and a sharing of all resources. It is consistent with the principles of the Treaty that the language and matters of Maori interest should have a secure place in broadcasting. If there is any impediment in the statute that governs the Broadcasting Corporation, then it is the statute itself that must be called into question”.

The tribunal went on to recommend to the Minister of Broadcasting that “in the formulation of broadcasting policy, regard be had [to the Crown’s obligation] to recognise and protect the Maori language, and that the Broadcasting Act 1975 (section 20) enables this to be done so far as broadcasting is concerned.”


Broadcasting Assets Case

Further imperative for the Crown to be proactive came in 1989 when the Government proposed to transfer the assets of the Broadcasting Corporation (BCNZ) to the newly formed state owned enterprises, Television New Zealand and Radio New Zealand. On the basis of the Tribunal’s findings in WAI 11, the Maori Council and Nga Kaiwhakapumau challenged this transfer in the High Court and the Court (Justice McGechan) subsequently “ordered the Crown to submit a scheme of protective reservations as to transmission and production facilities”.


Maori Radio

Maori radio has a vital role to play in the regeneration of the Maori language. Because it is portable and easy to access, radio makes the language widely accessible to learners, fluent and non-speakers of te reo.

Iwi Maori radio stations were established in the period 1989-94 through New Zealand on Air, which included an initial capital grant to each station of $100,000 and from then on, an annual sum of $200,000 (+GST) . Te Mangai Paho assumed responsibility for funding all stations in 1994. The average level of funding budgeted for Maori radio services until the end of 2002 is $9.2 million per year. This includes operational funding for 21 stations as well as a range of other services such as distribution, coverage extension, audience surveys and incentive funding. This compares with the average funding for Radio New Zealand of around $21 million per year.

The figure of $200,000 was determined by NZ On Air in 1990. In 1994, TMP sought two separate views from industry on what would be reasonable costs to operate a Maori radio station effectively. Both sources provided estimates and explanations totalling $400,000 – $450,000.

Despite progressive increases in the quantity and quality of te reo radio programmes, the level of funding for the operational costs of Maori radio stations has not substantially increased since the stations were established more than 10 years ago. Taking into account the shared services and other industry costs, the stations currently receive an average of around $320,000 per year to meet their operational requirements.

ENDS

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