Ngā Aho Whakaari, Auckland, 10 November 2014: NAW held its biennial National Conference on Friday and Saturday November 7th conference brought together all facets of the industry for a two day hui and focused on many of the big issues that have surfaced in recent times.
Screen production funders Te Māngai Pāho and New Zealand On Air, and broadcasters TVNZ, Mediaworks TV, took up the offer to outline their strategies for the future of Māori screen production. Most conference participants were keen to hear details around TVNZ’s decision to outsource Māori and Pacific programming. Concerns expressed at a previous Pacific Island Media Association fono were echoed by the Māori screen community around TVNZ’s perceived lack of commitment to preserving a strong Māori and Pacific voice on the channel.
Moderator Willie Jackson received a personal assurance from TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick that processes would be put in place to ensure the outsourced Māori programmes would go to Māori production companies, ideally utilising current staff employed. The audience was also assured by Mr Kenrick there were plans to address the lack of internal Māori and Pacific knowledge that might result from these changes.
Panel discussions around Māori language planning and Te Māngai Pāho’s requirements for them to more closely align with the new ‘right shift’ strategy, highlighted once again the fact that producers of programmes must dedicate extra time and specialist resources to meet funding proposal criteria.
Producers expressed their concerns that they were now being funded to be Te Reo strategists first and programme makers second and wanted more support.
Fluent speaker and seasoned producer of Māori language programmes Te Hira Henderson of White Gloves TV, says, “I’ve been colonised by a Māori language strategy!”
The participation of feature film directors Andrew Okpeaha MacLean (Alaska) and Ivan Sen (Australia) continued Ngā Aho Whakaari’s long history of supporting and collaborating with other indigenous filmmakers.
Ngā Aho Whakaari Chairperson Kim Muriwai says, “Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive and highlighted the need for us to gather together more often to discuss and solve issues rather than work in isolation.”