National | Broadcasting

Tama Potaka calls for mana motuhake after media industry cuts

Minister reinforces support for Māori media


Despite the looming losses of many news programmes, Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka is backing Māori media to thrive but says Māori need to think outside of the box when it comes to funding.

“I think that there are a number of channels through which our reo is being used, is being enhanced, is being innovated on, and those aren’t all, ultimately, funded by the government.”

In the past month, Newshub announced the closure of its newsroom and TVNZ will be axing two of their news shows and current affairs programmes Sunday and Fair Go.

Potaka said the government had a responsibility to te reo Māori and the Māori media sector but there had also been great community initiatives in the revitalisation of te reo Māori.

“Whakatupuranga Ruamano (a self-funded programme) was a great example of iwi organically getting up and saying: ‘Actually, we’re gonna take a stand. We’re gonna start acting and we are going to do this off our own resources.” That’s what I call rangatiratanga.”

‘Legitimate platform’

He also noted that there was more than one broadcaster in Aotearoa.

“People have said there’s only one broadcaster left in Aotearoa once Newshub goes, and I’ve reminded them that is definitely not the case. I think that the mahi that Whakaata Māori and others are doing is a very valid and legitimate platform for news and it gives a more indigenous flavour, or taste, or perspective on how the news is playing out. So, for me there is not one broadcaster left in New Zealand once Newshub goes. Actually, there’s multiple and some of them are very indigenous.”

Potaka said the future was digital, which needed new ways of thinking to deliver quality content. He was hopeful that, in his role as the Minister of Māori Development, he could persuade, engage, and influence his colleagues on understanding the value te reo Māori for the government, community and national identity.

“Te reo Māori me ōna tikanga is a fundamental part of this country’s DNA, past, present, and future.”

CORRECTION: An earlier story saying the minister expected Māori media to fully fund themselves without government support was incorrect.

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