Ngā Aho Whakaari, Auckland, 27 October 2014: The board of Ngā Aho Whakaari – Māori in Screen Production questions TVNZ’s decision to cut its own Māori & Pacific Department.
While TVNZ says that outsourcing Māori and Pacific Island programs will provide opportunity for independent production companies, Ngā Aho Whakaari sees this as a smokescreen.
“As the state broadcaster, what is TVNZ’s long term commitment to the Māori & Pacific voice when it cuts its own arm off?” says board member Lanita Ririnui-Ryan.
Ngā Aho Whakaari does not accept TVNZ’s reason for outsourcing these programs or comparison with other commissioned programming. These in-house Māori programs are not only fully funded by Te Māngai Pāho but also provide TVNZ with a return for their investment.
Ngā Aho Whakaari also questions the timing of the announcement. One month after the election, with little or no consultation prior, questions need to be asked about when this decision was actually made.
“As the representative guild for Māori in the Screen Industry, Ngā Aho Whakaari was not part of any consultation process regarding this decision by TVNZ,” says Ririnui-Ryan.
“If it was really to benefit our independents, you would think they might have asked who our community are.”
Ngā Aho Whakaari sympathises for the thirty staff, its peers and members, who are being made unemployed, and seeks TVNZ’s assurance that these experienced and professional staff members, the majority of whom are multi-lingual, be employed within TVNZ as a priority.
The Ngā Aho Whakaari National Conference in November, which includes an audience of funders, broadcasters, independent production companies and members, will discuss how this affects the future landscape of Māori in the screen industry.