TVNZ announces new plans for increased levels of Maori programming

31 08 2007

TVNZ has today unveiled a plan to significantly increase the presence of Maori programming on the national television public broadcaster.

TVNZ’s Head of Television Jeff Latch said today that the plan, if approved by funding bodies Te Mangai Paho and New Zealand on Air, would see:

– Maori programme hours almost treble;
– A new and broader range of Maori programmes created;
– Maori programmes screened on TV ONE, TV2, TVNZ 6, TVNZ 7, tvnz.co.nz and TVNZ ondemand; and
– The creation of a Maori Programming Commissioner role.

Mr Latch said at the moment TV ONE and TV 2 showed 167 hours of Maori programming. Under the new strategy that would go to 300 hours on TV ONE and TV 2, plus another 190 hours on TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7.

The Maori Programming Commissioner, who would decide what internal and external programmes would be created, would be part of TVNZ’s broader leadership team.TVNZ has an agreement with the Maori Television Service to share programmes, so the new strategy would also see Maori content increase on that channel.

“This is the first time in TVNZ’s history that a Maori programming strategy has been created,” he said.

“One of the goals of TVNZ’s new five year strategic plan is for the organisation to be the local content leader. For that to occur TVNZ needs to up its commitment to Maori programming.

“We want Maori programmes that inspire New Zealanders – Maori and non-Maori – on every screen, that ensure the health of Maori language and tikanga and creates a taonga or treasure for future viewers.

“But it’s more than just hours of Maori programmes and where we show them. This change signals a mainstreaming of Maori programmes into every day commissioning at TVNZ. For too long TVNZ’s Maori programming department has sat to the side of our core business.”

He said the strategy development, which started early this year, involved examining the demographics of the Maori population, viewing patterns of the Maori population and consultation with the Maori production industry.

The proposed slate of programmes are:

– Waka Huia – an archival series that focuses on tribal iwi, tangata, waka and taonga;
– Marae – a reworked hosted current affairs show in the style of TV ONE’s Sunday programme;
– Te Karere – a daily Maori news programme, all plays subtitled, in a refreshed format with multiple plays on TV ONE, TVNZ 7 and TVNZ ondemand;
– TBC title – a new one hour series to replace Mai Time aimed at rangatahi or younger viewers;
– TBC titles – two new Maori language acquisition series targeting pre-schoolers and 18-39 year olds;
– TBC title – a six part TV 2 reality series in which we transport two kiwi families back to 18th century Aotearoa;
– TBC title – a series covering all aspects of Maori lifestyle including cooking, parenting, travel and business;
– Whanau – a series of six minute episodes which teach Maori language and culture through short dramas set in a Maori home environment;
– Eye to Eye – a current affairs studio programme hosted by Willie Jackson;
– Documentaries – a minimum of three one hour documentaries which have a Maori focus or perspective to play within TV ONE’s primetime documentary series strand; and
– TBC title – a broad appeal Maori drama series.

Mr Latch said TVNZ looked forward to working with Te Mangai Paho and New Zealand On Air on the proposed programme slate.

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