The New Zealand Maori Council has said any broadcasting reforms must ensure the sustainability of Maori / Iwi broadcasting. The Council’s Executive Director, Matthew Tukaki, has warned the Government that there has been a lack of investment in Maori / Iwi Broadcasting that has held the sector back, put a ceiling on jobs growth and the development of high skilled and high wage growth roles as well as lacking growth across new forms of media.
“The historical Te Reo Maori Claim that the Council was heavily involved in that led to the recognition of Te Reo Maori as an official language of New Zealand in the late eighties was the first step in not just growing and protecting our language it was also wrapped up in the radio spectrum claim – about the mediums we could use to project Te Reo Maori, share our stories and news, communicate to a broader audience and so on.” Tukaki said
“Step forward to today and we have a good number of really excellent Iwi and Maori radio stations out there who are operating on the smell of an oily rag – because their growth has been stunted as a result of a lack of both infrastructure and workforce capacity. You walk into any of our radio stations and many are using radio equipment from the dark ages – equipment that takes a lot to maintain. Then there is the case of the continual missed opportunities of growing a workforce. I mean today we are also dealing with the opportunity of social media and using those types of platforms to communicate and engage with Maori audiences – and yet because of the lack of investment it’s hard to grow the workforce to meet demand.” Tukaki said
“This in itself is a missed opportunity because we know that these sorts of jobs are in the high wage growth category and they are jobs that create more opportunities in life including the ability to save for a house and so on. More to the point imagine the audiences our media organizations could reach when it comes to Te Reo Maori and Maori Culture if only they had the chance.” Tukaki said
“The Government can have all the plans they want but what we really need is infrastructure investment and to that end that’s why I want to see an additional $50 million invested over the next five years to bring those organisations up to speed with the latest infrastructure and a further $50 million to really grow our human potential – in other words the resource base to make this all happen.” Tukaki said
“In addition to this a greater investment in content and program production, investment into documentary and story development as well. This investment will be returned twenty fold but the Government needs to first recognise that it’s not about them – it’s about our people.” Tukaki said
“As for the potential merger between Radio NZ and TVNZ I would caution the Government that unless there is a clear plan that there will be growth of Maori content and not a decline then we’ll be seeing you in the Waitangi Tribunal and reflect on those historical claims I mentioned before – Government forgets that Maori Council is a watcher of events on behalf of our people” Tukaki said
“On the other side in terms of the mainstream commercial market we must do more to also provide infrastructure investment to TVNZ and RNZ – as well as Television Three – TV 3 is often left off the table and that has to change. We need to give them all access to the same level playing field as I would expect to be given to Iwi Maori radio and media.” Tukaki said