National | Māori Television

A new direction for Whakaata Māori

At a dawn ceremony in East Tamaki this morning, our indigenous name, Whakaata Māori, was launched. It will replace Māori Television.

Having recently celebrated its 18th birthday, the country’s only indigenous broadcaster will now be known as Whakaata Māori.

These days we’re a Māori multimedia organisation and not just a television station and Whakaata Māori is intended to embrace all aspects of its media capability.

“This morning is really important and pivotal as we move into Matariki and Puanga, as we mark a new leaf in the life of Whakaata Māori. As we reflect on those that are no longer with us, it reminds us of our duty and our responsibility to this treasure,” Whakaata Māori chair Jamie Tuuta says.

“People said it should have been Whakaata Māori right from the start but I think that Māori Television was the right name for the time because you just think back to 20 years ago … the message was quite simple in Māori Television. It worked for that time but it’s really appropriate that we move on, " Te Māngai Pāho chief executive Larry Parr says.

Ngātu Whātua's Renata BlaIr: "It's an honour and a privilege to be invited, on behalf of Ngāti Whātua, to join again and bring back the memory of those koroua who taki (conducted) the karakia (prayers) and it was an honour for me to be invited today by Rāhui [Papa] to take the karakia.”

Whakaata Māori chief executive Shane Taurima says the new name represents a new direction.

'We must be agile'

“We have a community of strong Māori storytellers to promote the revitalisation of te reo Māori me ngā tikanga Māori. We continue to build capacity and capability,” Taurima says.

“We’ve held two workforce development wānanga recently and are working towards a strategy that futureproofs our sector because we simply don’t have enough talent and skills that we need to be able to do our work every day, so we do need a strategy.”

It also highlights the changes in the way audiences view content.

“Our name change embraces our role as a digital multimedia entity. As audiences and technology change, we must be agile to meet opportunities and invest our time and resources towards our future,” Taurima says.

“In the last financial year, we increased our digital engagement by 130 per cent despite Covid and all those challenges.”

Whakaata Māori is about to receive a boost in funding, the first in 13 years.

“First of all, we had to secure the putea (funding), we’ve got that," Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson says. "The strategy is done just for everyone’s information and it’s in front of the different groups at the moment and it has to go through cabinet and we’re probably four to six weeks away from releasing it. That’s where it’s at and, basically, it takes into account what’s happening today.”