TVNZ says television taonga are not up for sale

10:57 am on 3 March 2019

TVNZ has confirmed it won't be selling its Māori stories to overseas buyers and its guardianship of the archive is something they don't take lightly.

The Māori Council and the Māori screen industry organisation Ngā Aho Whakaari have raised concerns that a partnership with US media archive company Getty Images would lead to the loss of television taonga overseas.

TVNZ signed the sales deal with Getty Images in April last year.

TVNZ's commissioning consultant for Māori and Pacific programmes, Nevak Rogers, said Getty Images acted as TVNZ's agent, offering a shop front for the distribution of short TV clips.

She said Māori content had never been offered for sale to overseas buyers because TVNZ decided what was made available and maintained editorial control.

She said TVNZ had been entrusted to preserve Māori culture and language for future generations.

"Legacy series such as Waka Huia and Koha have done an extraordinary job of capturing our people's stories for our mokopuna to come. And for decades Te Reo Tātaki has played the invaluable role of archiving and safe-keeping those precious taonga. That hasn't changed.

However, she acknowledges talks with Ngā Aho Wakaari about the sales deal should have started earlier.