The Minister of Māori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples attended celebrations held in Auckland on Thursday 22 March, marking eight years of operation of the Māori Television Service.
Whakaata Māori went to air on 28 March 2004. A second channel called Te Reo which broadcasts 100 per cent in the Māori language, was launched on 28 March 2008.
“This was another milestone that Māori Television, all Māori, and indeed all New Zealanders can chalk up alongside the many other successes achieved by this pioneering indigenous broadcaster,” Dr Sharples said.
“Māori Television was born with the privilege and the responsibility of ensuring the revitalisation of tikanga Māori and reo Māori by being an independent, secure and successful broadcaster, reflecting a nation and its culture that is the birthright of every Māori, and the heritage of every New Zealander,” he said.
“Māori Television is a living archive of Māori and New Zealand, traditions, events, and language,”
The Minister went on to say that 92 per cent was local content and the spread over the two channels of te reo Māori was 73 per cent. Māori Television is seen as a unique point of difference as the broadcaster reflecting life in Aotearoa.
“As a founding member of the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network, Māori Television also broadcasts outstanding international documentaries and films showcasing indigenous peoples from around the world,” said Dr Sharples.
Independent research commissioned by Te Puni Kōkiri in 2011 examined the impact of Māori Television on Māori language. The results showed that those who watched Māori Television used reo Māori more, were learning more, and were more skilled in te reo Māori. The Māori Affairs Minister added that: “That’s awesome especially when we know audience ratings say 75 per cent of the Māori Television audience is Pākehā.”
“Māori Television is a living archive of Māori and New Zealand, traditions, events, and language,” Dr Sharples said. “It enables us to not only gain a better understanding of our cultural differences, but to celebrate them, together,” he said.