Lost in Translation - new Maori Television documentary for 2008


A new Maori Television show presented by comedian Mike King is looking for descendants of signatories and people who have “neat yarns” about the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

LOST IN TRANSLATION is a documentary series that both teaches and tickles us, says Mike – part-personal odyssey, part-quest for understanding and part-excuse for a few laughs.

He is about to hit the road, retracing the journey of the nine separate documents that were signed throughout New Zealand in 1840 and now make up the treaty. In the course of his travels, Mike will tell the story of people who, like his great-great-great grandfather, signed the treaty as well as others who did not.

He’ll also gather personal stories from everyday New Zealanders about the characters and events that surrounded the inception of this country’s founding document and the show will add a further dimension by incorporating stand-up comedy into the mix.

“The Treaty of Waitangi is one of the most contentious issues facing New Zealanders today. There’s a whole heap of reactions to the mere mention of the ‘T’ word in polite company – eyes roll back in heads, veins bulge in necks, people change the subject or excuse themselves from the room,” says Mike.

“Tune in to talkback radio on any day and you’ll hear people at each other’s throats, regurgitating half-truths and perpetuating old myths – arguing their point of view with complete disregard for the facts or the feelings of the other side.”

For an issue that generates so much heated debate and creates so much tension, Mike says it is amazing how little we really know about one of the most explosive chapters in our shared history.

So by presenting an informed, impartial and non-confrontational look at the treaty and getting to know some of the quirky stories about the main players as well as the more unusual ones – including women and Pakeha who signed on the Maori side – Mike hopes that people will fall in love with New Zealand history and want to know more.

LOST IN TRANSLATION will screen on Maori Television in 2008. Filming is scheduled to begin in September this year and the production team are looking for descendants of signatories and people who have some neat yarns about the people and events around the signing of the treaty.

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