Maori Language captioning of key TV shows

22 07 2008

As part of TVNZ’s celebration of Māori Language Week, the broadcaster will be screening Māori Language subtitles on two of its highest rating programmes.

On Wednesday, Shortland Street on TV2 will be captioned in Māori, and on Saturday night Country Calendar on TV ONE will also feature Māori captioning.

In both cases, the captioning will be ‘open’ – meaning it will be visible to all viewers. In most English-language captioning the service is only visible through Teletext.

The Te Reo subtitles have been prepared by TVNZ’s captioning department, with assistance from staff at Waka Huia, the long-running specialist Māori language and culture programme.

Viewers will see and hear Te Reo on all TVNZ channels this week.

Continuity announcements are peppered with Maori words, alongside their English translations, and live programmes are featuring many more greetings and sign-offs in Maori.

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Family stories needed for new TV Series

18 07 2008

Blended families, step-families, cross-cultural marriages and extended whanau – for many second-time round couples, one or both partners often come with heavy family baggage.

ONCE BITTEN is a documentary series about couples that have risen to the challenge to find their ‘happily ever after’ amid ferociously complex family circumstances – and the programme needs your stories.

Maybe your family swells to the size of a football team every time the rellies descend. Perhaps your relationship has caused a significant break from, or return to, your family and culture. Or perhaps you’re grappling one of life’s big events – a wedding, a baby, a new house – while juggling some big personalities within the family. The more complex the better, according to programme-makers.

“We will draw from the wider community and across two countries to find compelling stories, which highlight different issues and cultural perspectives,” says Janette Howe, whose Kingsland-based company, Caravan Productions, will co-produce the two-part programme with Circe Films in Australia. “Stories from diverse cultures across both countries: Maori, Asian, Indian, Arabic and European Australian, will show how culture and family bring us together – or can tear us apart.”

Paula Whetu Jones (Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngati Porou) will direct the New Zealand component of the documentary. Her credits include award-winning documentary Gang Girls, Mama Tere and Tatai Hono – and she is highly experienced in projects that involve social issues and family.

Film Finance Corporation and New Zealand On Air will fund the project, which will screen on SBS Australia and Maori Television.

With filming due to begin in August, Howe is still on the hunt for more families, and in particular hopes to hear from Maori couples who believe that sharing their story – the joys, the complications, the pitfalls, the lessons learned – will give others an insight into family life today.

For more information contact:
Janette Howe
Caravan Productions
M 021 825 199
P 09 369 1981
caravanproductions@gmail.com





Voices from the past revisted in documentary

1 07 2008

For history buffs, they’re a treasure, a rare kind of gold. They are the sound archives at Radio New Zealand, featuring interviews and stories unheard since the 1930s, set to be re-discovered in Maori Television’s inspirational new history series TE PATAKA KORERO, to premiere on Sunday July 13 at 8.30 PM.

The series aims to provide new insight into the key issues that have affected Maori over the last century. Interview subjects in the programme include people who, just a generation on from events, are able to recount history from the early musket wars, as their parents and grandparents told it to them.

The makers of the series, which translates as ‘storehouse of conversations’, went into the archives with high expectations about the gems they might find – and were not disappointed.

“They’ve been sitting for such a long time, almost forgotten,” says TE PATAKA KORERO director Tihini Grant. “It’s like a treasure trove of audio files. For me, it’s bringing back to life voices that have been long silent.”

Being a television show, the sound archives needed a visual component as well, a challenge resolved by matching up the radio recordings with equally rare and unique images unearthed in the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington.

For the first time, the famous photograph of the meeting house at Waitangi on the day it opened – Sir Apirana Ngata and soldiers from the Maori Batallion performing a rousing haka – has an equally powerful soundtrack to go with it.

The snap of the hikoi coming over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, led by Dame Whina Cooper, is another unforgettable image. Now there are recordings that show what was happening for her and the nation at that time.

Other Maori leaders featured in the series include T.W. Ratana and Princess Te Puea at key points in their lives.

For language purists, another attraction of the series will be the richness of the reo being spoken, both in terms of the old dialects people used, and simply in the way people thought and expressed themselves.

Says Grant: “I think it’s more the purity of thought behind the language. Going back that far, you’ve got less of a taint of modern, non-Maori thinking and expression. Their world view is from a Maori standpoint, and it influences everything they say and do.”

Programme-makers have also tracked down kaumatua such as Dr Merimeri Penfold and Whai Ngata, who give first-person accounts of historical events they had a part in.

The show’s presenter is Haare Williams, a journalist and broadcaster who conducted many of the interviews featured. He was also instrumental in having those Maori voices archived properly with former employer, Radio New Zealand.

“There wasn’t considered then to be a need, but he knew the worth of those recordings, and the need to protect them as taonga,” says series producer Mechele Harron. “So we’re really honoured to be able to have him as a host. He has such a wealth of knowledge.”

Harron says her team has found a real passion for what they’ve been making. They hope that in touching the hearts of the iwi and whanau groups whose ancestors were involved in historical events, others will be moved as well.

“One whanau broke down and cried listening to their father speaking on the paepae, they were so moved and proud. It’s a personal experience for iwi involved, and that to me is the ultimate aim.”

Remember those from the past who fought for today on TE PATAKA KORERO, a series screening on Maori Television from Sunday July 13 at 8.30 PM.





Yes Men Documentary to screen on Maori TV

1 07 2008

The rich get richer, the poor masses get a raw deal – nothing new to report there. For anyone who thinks the powers that be deserve a good poke in the ribs for all that privilege, Maori Television has the tonic: THE YES MEN, a documentary screening in the channel’s Sunday Feature slot on July 13 at 9.00 PM.

The Yes Men are a group of activists around since the late 1990s or so, whose main purpose has been to play elaborate pranks on the bigwigs in corporations, agencies and governments around the world.

The group has some serious points to make, in an anti-globalisation, anti-consumerism kind of vein, but as chief rib-pokers Andy and Mike observe in this documentary, it’s a lot more fun to make a statement in a satirical way.

The film begins as the guys get started on their next big prank. After setting up a phony website almost identical to George W Bush’s campaign site, but with content critical of his policies, they have been asked to do the same for the World Trade Organisation. The WTO is often criticised as being all about the interests of business, at the expense of the rights and quality of life of workers.

Through the site, The Yes Men have been invited to speak at an upcoming business conference for European textile businesspeople, on behalf, at least in the organisers’ minds, of the WTO. The presentation goes ahead, posing ideas they expect to outrage the conference.

What if, yes man Andy muses, the slaves in America’s cotton fields had not been freed? Surely market forces would have adjusted to the situation we have today – remote labour in developing countries, where the workers cost less than it would to maintain a slave in Helsinki, and without the downside of homesickness or racism for the slave/worker.

Not a peep does the conference audience make, except for the scribble of pens of conscientious note-takers.

Next, an outrageous gold shiny ‘leisure suit’ is produced, an outfit that comes with protruding phallic ‘workstation’ attached, allowing the remote worker ‘manager’ to observe his microchip-implanted staff.

Again, the audience is unmoved. So much for being arrested, or even just told off, for impersonation or bad taste, or anything at all.

The pranks keep coming. A false report that the WTO is dismantling itself, after admitting its intent for greater peace and prosperity a mission failure, is warmly received as a brave call by delegates at an accountants’ conference in Australia.

A presentation to students about a ‘re-burger’ – recycling of Western human waste to be fed to the world’s poor – finally gets the hoped for outrage from the audience.

The antics are long way from the riots and protests often credited to anti-global activists, which is no doubt why they work. Food for thought: THE YES MEN, screens on Maori Television on July 13 at 9.00 PM.





Matariki – the Maori New Year Celebrations on Maori TV

25 06 2008

Maori Television invites viewers to celebrate Matariki – the Maori New Year – with a glorious festival of arts and culture on HE KARANGA MATARIKI, a series of three one-hour specials to screen on Tuesday June 10 at 8.30 PM, Wednesday June 11 at 8.30 PM and Thursday June 12 at 9.00 PM.

Maori Television has turned to some of the country’s finest creative minds to interpret and shed light on the meanings and themes of Matariki.

“We decided to cast our net wide and offer our performing artists a unique opportunity,” says HE KARANGA MATARIKI producer Michele Bristow. “Maori have long realised that performance holds the key to many truths. Chant, song, dance and drama record our history, convey feelings, express ideas, celebrate important events, as well as protest and persuade. In this special Maori Television invites others to the stage to express and share Matariki.”

For traditional Maori, Matariki was a constellation whose appearance in the pre-dawn sky in early June marked the start of a new phase of life. Occurring at the end of harvest, it was a time to think ahead, plan sea voyages and prepare the land for planting, but also to celebrate. People would gather and reflect, observe ceremonial rituals, sing, dance and tell stories.

Today, that attention to art, culture, reflection and celebration provides the inspiration for HE KARANGA MATARIKI.

The three parts of this series have been designed to explore the past, present and future through music, kapa haka and korero. Part One remembers and gives thanks while looking back at the year past. In Part Two the focus is the present, with music by Anna Coddington, and a modern tale of Matariki as told by Te Hamua Nikora. The third and final part is a celebration of new beginnings, expressed through kapa haka by Auckland Girls Grammar School, and the music of Little Bushman and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

Another key element of the series is storytelling, woven through the musical performances. For oral societies, stories are the means through which knowledge is transferred. For Maori these were often long and complex, and full of instruction on how to behave, overcome obstacles, make clothes and build houses, and other topics vital to the health and future of a tribe. HE KARANGA MATARIKI features some of these stories, performed by such people as Merimeri Penfold, Mere Black, Makere Kaa, Maruhaeremuri Stirling and Makere Wano.

Bristow hopes the special programmes will create a wider awareness of this unique celebration: “While other cultural celebrations most definitely have a place in our country’s calendar, Matariki is one Maori celebrate, and one we wish to share with the nation.”

Tune in to the culture, language, spirit and people. HE KARANGA MATARIKI screens on Maori Television on Tuesday June 10 at 8.30 PM, Wednesday June 11 at 8.30 PM and Thursday June 12 at 9.00 PM.





Matariki celebrations set to feature on Maori TV

21 05 2008

Maori Television invites viewers to celebrate Matariki – the Maori New Year – with a glorious festival of arts and culture on HE KARANGA MATARIKI, a series of three one-hour specials to screen on Tuesday June 10 at 8.30 PM, Wednesday June 11 at 8.30 PM and Thursday June 12 at 9.00 PM.

Maori Television has turned to some of the country’s finest creative minds to interpret and shed light on the meanings and themes of Matariki.

“We decided to cast our net wide and offer our performing artists a unique opportunity,” says HE KARANGA MATARIKI producer Michele Bristow. “Maori have long realised that performance holds the key to many truths. Chant, song, dance and drama record our history, convey feelings, express ideas, celebrate important events, as well as protest and persuade. In this special Maori Television invites others to the stage to express and share Matariki.”

For traditional Maori, Matariki was a constellation whose appearance in the pre-dawn sky in early June marked the start of a new phase of life. Occurring at the end of harvest, it was a time to think ahead, plan sea voyages and prepare the land for planting, but also to celebrate. People would gather and reflect, observe ceremonial rituals, sing, dance and tell stories.

Today, that attention to art, culture, reflection and celebration provides the inspiration for HE KARANGA MATARIKI.

The three parts of this series have been designed to explore the past, present and future through music, kapa haka and korero. Part One remembers and gives thanks while looking back at the year past. In Part Two the focus is the present, with music by Anna Coddington, and a modern tale of Matariki as told by Te Hamua Nikora. The third and final part is a celebration of new beginnings, expressed through kapa haka by Auckland Girls Grammar School, and the music of Little Bushman and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

Another key element of the series is storytelling, woven through the musical performances. For oral societies, stories are the means through which knowledge is transferred. For Maori these were often long and complex, and full of instruction on how to behave, overcome obstacles, make clothes and build houses, and other topics vital to the health and future of a tribe. HE KARANGA MATARIKI features some of these stories, performed by such people as Merimeri Penfold, Mere Black, Makere Kaa, Maruhaeremuri Stirling and Makere Wano.

Bristow hopes the special programmes will create a wider awareness of this unique celebration: “While other cultural celebrations most definitely have a place in our country’s calendar, Matariki is one Maori celebrate, and one we wish to share with the nation.”

Tune in to the culture, language, spirit and people. HE KARANGA MATARIKI screens on Maori Television on Tuesday June 10 at 8.30 PM, Wednesday June 11 at 8.30 PM and Thursday June 12 at 9.00 PM.





NZ Army recruits feature in new reality TV show

5 05 2008

Ngati Tumatauenga the NZ Army recruit reality TV series
Ngati Tumatauenga means the “Tribe of the God of War”.

Ngati Tumatauenga is also the name of a new TV Show playing Mondays on Maori Television follows recruits through their Basic Training programme in their efforts to join the NZ Army.

For more information on the show visit the Ngati Tumatauenga website.

Plays Maori TV Mondays at 9:00pm