Mai Time

Mai Time Saturday 8 December, 10.30pm

Tune in to TV2 this Saturday to see the end of an era. Youth show pioneer Mai Time has been celebrating New Zealand youth culture for 12 years, and this week they bring the series to a close with a one-hour special.

“Mai Time was the bench mark programme for Māori and Pacific Island youth television,” says producer Anahera Higgins, who has been with the show for 11 years. “It has delivered the best of youth programming for its core demographic for the last 12 years and it will be sadly missed. To be involved in such a process is a rare and coveted role and not one taken lightly. There have been too many highlights to mention, too many contributions to list, but I guess when people keep coming back to the programme year after year to happily participate in the making of television and still rating Mai Time as the show they would like to appear on, that in itself is a wonderful highlight for the programme.”
Associate producer Maria Kuiti has been part of Mai Time since its inception, and says; “it is one of the most exciting and proudest parts of my production career. Mai Time is a brown platform and a voice for our rangatahi, the first of its kind in Aotearoa. There has never been a dull moment over the past 12 years; new producers, presenters and production teams always bring new ideas and dynamics.”

In this one-hour special some of your favourite characters like Neecy, Cinda Haunga and the Smelly Grubbies return, and you may see your home town in our ‘Top 5 Nau Mai’ or your favourite celebrities in our ‘Top 5 international interviews’. The final will also include Mai Time’s own version of True Hollywood Stories, called True Hori Stories, as the team looks back and reminisces with your favourite stars who remember Mai Time when they were growing up.

Former producers, cameramen and crew will also be part of the final; dishing the dirt on everyone’s antics behind-the-scenes, while current hosts Olly Coddington and Gabrielle Paringatai look back at old footage and have a laugh at the old-fashioned styles their presenting predecessors used to sport.

Olly and Gabrielle won’t just be looking back at past series though. This has been an amazing year for them both and they will be talking about their own highlights from 2007.

This is Olly’s second year fronting Mai Time, and he says; “I’ve had the coolest year! Everyone I’ve met and worked with is so much fun, it’s been like one big spread-out whanau. Highlights would have to include; being at Soundsplash ’07 at home in Whaingaroa, going snowboarding down south at Treblecone, skydiving in Queenstown, plus covering the NZ Music Awards. Mai Time represent!”

Hi co-presenter Gabe was formerly a teacher, and this year marked her television debut which has been a huge success as she was nominated in the ‘Rising Star’ category of TV Guide’s 2007 ‘Best on the Box’ awards.

Filming the show has been an eye-opening experience for Gabe, as she explains; “if it wasn’t for Mai Time, how would I have known about the huge contingent of young Maori and Pacific Islanders from all over the motu who have a wealth of knowledge and are doing amazing things? From emerging musos, to blossoming artists, to potential politicians; from speakers of Te Reo Maori to speakers of the Samoan language… the list goes on. What has been the highlight of my year? Working for Mai Time!”

Mai Time’s one-hour final episode will be filled with laughs and tears as TV2 farewells an iconic show – this Saturday 8 December, 10.30am.

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.