New Zealand’s national indigenous broadcaster, Maori Television, is celebrating its five-year on-air anniversary with the release of new research into its social and economic impact as well as the unveiling of a revamped website.
The channel’s fifth birthday is being acknowledged at a presentation being hosted by its two shareholding ministers – the Minister of Finance, Hon Bill English, and the Minister of Maori Affairs, Hon Dr Pita Sharples – at Parliament’s Grand Hall tonight (Wednesday March 25 2009). The event also celebrates the first birthday of the Maori language channel, Te Reo.
A statutory corporation, Maori Television launched on March 28, 2004. Its governance arrangements represent a unique relationship between Crown and Maori with two distinct reporting stakeholders: the Government and Te Putahi Paoho (Maori Television Service Electoral College) which represents a number of national Maori organisations.
Maori Television board chairman Garry Muriwai (Ngapuhi) says the organisation strives to make a positive contribution to enriching New Zealand society, culture and heritage.
The main focus is the delivery of unique locally made commissioned programmes, good quality and cost effective in-house programmes, free-to-air sport, intelligent and entertaining international programmes, and coverage of events of significance to all New Zealanders. This is coupled with a commitment to broadcast a substantial proportion of high quality Maori language programming throughout the schedule.
As well as quantitative research, Mr Muriwai says an economic impact study has been conducted by Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL) to estimate Maori Television’s contribution to the New Zealand economy.
The results of the new research show that:
- Since Maori Television launched on March 28, 2004, audience reach has tripled. Maori Television now reaches more than 1.5 million New Zealanders each month. In a typical month, Maori Television reaches half of all Maori 5+ and over a third of All People 5+.
- Most New Zealanders (84 per cent) believe that Maori Television should be a permanent part of New Zealand broadcasting. Many Maori (73 per cent), and about half of all New Zealanders (46 per cent), believe that Maori Television makes a valuable contribution to New Zealand’s sense of nationhood.
- The majority of Maori (83 per cent) and more than half of all New Zealanders (53 per cent) appreciate the positive view of Maori presented on Maori Television. Many Maori (73 per cent) also agree that Maori Television makes them feel proud to be a New Zealander.
- Each year since 2004, between 500-600 full-time equivalent jobs have resulted from the activities of Maori Television and its associated independent production companies.
- Each year since 2004, Maori Television and the independent production community contributed total economic impact of between $25 million (2004) and $41 million (2008) to New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
- For the year to June 2008, Maori Television, together with the activities of independent producers, contributed $41.2 million to GDP. Of this, Maori Television provided $21.5 million and independent production provided $19.7 million.
- In total, the activities of Maori Television and the production community from 2004 to 2008 have contributed more than $185 million towards New Zealand’s GDP.
Mr Muriwai says the organisation is embracing new technologies, adding website television to its range of broadcast platforms with the redesign of www.maoritelevision.com. The new-look website has the capacity to webcast up to 330 hours of programming to local and international audiences.
Maori Television has also taken a leadership role in the establishment of the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network (WITBN) after hosting the inaugural World Indigenous Television Broadcasting Conference in Auckland early last year. Foundation Network Council members include broadcasters from Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Australia, South Africa, Norway, Canada and Taiwan.
“Employing 165 staff – many of whom are professional broadcasters of considerable talent and experience – Maori Television has adopted a vision, mission and set of values supported by challenging but achievable strategic goals,” Mr Muriwai says. “Underpinning our organisation are stakeholders, governance and management structures, and the disciplines in place for a robust, well-managed television broadcaster
“Through the powerful medium of television, we are able to present a view of our country that is unique, engaging and relevant, and which we intend will encourage New Zealanders to develop a collective sense of nationhood.”
Two programmes are being produced inhouse by Maori Television to screen on the official anniversary of Maori Television – Saturday March 28 2009. HARI HURITAU is a one-and-a-half hour special looking back over the past five years of Maori Television and will be followed by HARI HURITAU NGAHAU – a music entertainment show hosted by Te Hamua Nikora and Ngatapa Black.