INDEPENDENT NEWS

MĀ TĀTOU – FOR ALL OF US 20 Years Of Whakaata Māori

Published: Fri 22 Mar 2024 03:43 PM
The Minister for Māori Development, Tama Potaka, has paid tribute to Whakaata Māori and its contribution to national identity.
Minister Potaka visited Whakaata Māori today on the eve of its 20 year milestone and said the network was built on the legacy of many and had excelled in telling the stories of Aotearoa.
“Who would have thought we would be here today. It’s absolutely beautiful and absolutely challenging because we are in a moment right now, and we know this, that there are many folks out there that don’t see the value and the diversity of our reo. It’s our civic duty to say we are not going to live just one way with just one language. We are here and we’re not going anywhere and we’re going to grow,” he said.
The Minister recalled Whakaata Māori shows that were loved and made an impact like the national ANZAC Day broadcast. He said the mahi of Māori media had been underrated, especially as a spring board for many to reconnect to their roots and histories.
“Those are some of the understated upsides that Whakaata Māori and other broadcasters in te ao Māori have actually provided. You can’t count the upsides but they really count in the health and well being of our nation to redefine and reimagine what Aotearoa, New Zealand, is and will be.”
The Minister’s visit to the East Tāmaki premises also acknowledged nine kaihoe and staff who had been with the waka for two decades, including content creators Miriama Prendergast and Ethan Smith.
“Imagine a place where you go to work with your best friends every day. That’s what I’ve had for 20 years. We’ve done more for less because there was no-one else and claimed international awards against industry giants,” said Miriama Prendergast.
“Its not a job. Its been a journey for me and my children. The knowledge of so many I’ve learnt beside, our language, our values, that rubs off on you. It’s all the things I want to give to my children and the reason I get out of bed in the morning,” said Ethan.
Whakaata Māori was launched as the Māori Television Service on 28 March 2004 and has been a powerful vehicle for the revitalisation of Māori language and culture.
It has also become a champion of locally made content, led the renaissance of ANZAC Day commemorations for thousands of New Zealanders and has become a world leader in indigenous broadcasting.
“You’ve been agile, you’ve been nimble and you’re operating under a lot of pressure. The pressure is on me but I know the pressure is also on you, not only for fiscal matters but also for the expectations of our people. I absolutely say this to all those working in Māori broadcasting – stay fearless,” said Minister Potaka.
Special programming and events will occur across the next 12 months to commemorate the 20 years anniversary, starting next week with the return of two popular entertainment shows that earned a special place in the heart of New Zealanders.
HŌMAI TE PAKIPAKI and CODE will broadcast live from the Hawaikirangi studio in East Tāmaki as two studio specials.
Whakaata Māori Kaihautū, Shane Taurima, said the shows were a testament to some of the great programming in the last 20 years.
“This year is an important chance to remember the legacy of those who fought to get us here but to also thank the kaihoe who kept the waka moving and the many New Zealanders who supported us. I am often asked what has been the highlight? My answer is always the same: He tangata. It is people,” he said.
HŌMAI TE PAKIPAKI ALL STARS, returns for a two-hour special on Wednesday 27 March at 7.00 PM on Whakaata Māori and MĀORI+.
CODE: THE REUNION, returns on Thursday 28 March at 7.00 PM on Whakaata Māori and MĀORI+.

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