Hip Hop? It's another Language - TVNZ Programmes Head

There is Maori language, there are regional dialects of te reo – and then there’s hiphop. . .

The bi-lingual Saturday morning programme Mai Time on TV2 is rating well “but it’s based on hip hop”, the head of Maori programmes for Television New Zealand, Whai Ngata, told a Waitangi Tribunal panel yesterday.

Mr Ngata said that some of the established Maori-language programmes did not attract younger Maori-speaking viewers.

Asked by the tribunal’s chaiman, Joe Williams, who is also chief judge of the Maori Land Court, what level of Maori-language programming was needed on a mainstream channel to keep the language alive, Mr Ngata said it was a question TVNZ asked itself but had not been able to answer.

“Youth has to play a part in it. Unfortunately youth are moving to other channels,” Mr Ngata said.

“There are so many channels they have access to,” he said.

“I don’t know whether Maori-language learning programmes will help but some way of making te reo `normal’ is needed.”

“We need to look outside the square to see type of programming will bring young people to prime time and to take up te reo,” Mr Ngata said.

Youth programming was a focus of the Maori Television Service – which is also funded by the Government, but is separate to TVNZ – but Mr Ngata said older Maori language speakers also needed programmes.

Mr Williams noted that about twice as many people over 55 spoke Maori, compared with those under 55.

“Yes, but we speak a different language to the younger set, sir” said Mr Ngata, 64.

“Absolutely,” said Judge Williams whose panel was hearing Government responses to submissions on the WAI 262 claim for intelectual property rights covering flora, fauna and culture.

Subscribe to our mailing list

About the author