Happy Birthday, Maori Television!

New Zealand’s national indigenous broadcaster, Maori Television, is celebrating its third on-air anniversary with news of a major milestone.

The month of March is now the channel’s best ratings to date with a monthly cumulative audience of 624,900 unique viewers, outstripping the previous high of 581,900 in November and more than double the audience that tuned in during its first month on air in 2004.

The latest figures represent one in six New Zealanders aged 5+ (one in four aged 40+) and one in four Maori aged 5+ (one in three Maori aged 18+) tuning in during the month of March.

Maori Television chief executive Jim Mather says the ratings result coincides with the station’s third birthday on March 28.

“It is very encouraging that our distinctive brand of programming is appealing to a growing number of New Zealanders,” Mr Mather says. “These milestones highlight our on-going development and the positive progress being made in revitalising the Maori language and culture.”

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says that after three years of hard work the fruits were beginning to materialise and the board, management and staff of Maori Television should all take credit for this. “The ratings increase show that with good support te ao Maori can flourish.”

John Bishara, the chief executive of Te Mangai Paho – the Maori broadcasting funding agency – says the continued growth by Maori Television in viewer numbers is encouraging for the Maori broadcasting sector as a whole. “More Maori language on the airwaves, to more people, signifies an excellent result for all,” Mr Bishara says.

Upcoming specials on Maori Television include the ANZAC rugby league test between the Kiwis and the Kangaroos on Friday April 20; the all-day ANZAC Day broadcast – NA RATOU, MO TATOU: LET’S HONOUR THEM TOGETHER – on Wednesday April 25; and a nine-week season of classic Kiwi movies from Sunday April 29.

Viewers can call the helpline on 0800 MA TATOU (0800 628 2868) for advice on how to tune in to Maori Television or go to http://www.maoritelevision.com for more information.

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