24 July 2001
Today's announcement on a new Maori television channel is an important initiative in Maori Language Week and I am
pleased the Government has built on the platform for a Maori television service developed by National, National Maori
Affairs spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu said today. "National supports protection and retention of the Maori language
and we support this channel.
"However let's not forget the real drivers behind the channel have been Maori people over the last 20 years, leaders and
elders who through sheer doggedness and commitment took matters into the courts and have held on until they are
satisfied. I salute them. "We are pleased that the Te Awhiorangi, Te Reo Maori Television Trust, set up under National
under a plan criticised by this Government have persevered and held their ground to get something established.
"This channel is only a start. It is unfortunate the Government did not heed Maori advice including Willie Jackson's
call for a Maori broadcasting strategy.
"It is also clear that the Government does not appreciate the wish of Maori for independence and autonomy. This is in
stark contrast to the National Government's plans for a service to be completely independent of the Crown.
National's Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich said it had been a long wait for the channel after the Government's
promises to launch it 18 months ago.
"Maori broadcasting has been buck-passed around Government Ministers from Marian Hobbs to Parekura Horomia and finally
Helen Clark. Despite the progress today we are still concerned there is no broad framework for Maori broadcasting," Mrs