16 May 2018

Challenge to keep up with competition - Māori TV

7:45 pm on 16 May 2018

Māori Television has not had an increase in production funding from Māori broadcasting funding agency, Te Māngai Paho, since 2004 and the network says it's a challenge to keep up with the competition.

Glenn Hawkins (L), Jamie Tuuta and Keith Ikin.

Glenn Hawkins (L), Jamie Tuuta and Keith Ikin. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The network told the the Māori Affairs Select Committee today that of the $35 million it received every year, $16 million was administered through Te Māngai Paho.

Te Māngai Paho funding was subject to an annual approval and negotiation process, which meant future funding was not guaranteed.

Māori Television chief executive Keith Ikin said that was a huge challenge for the network.

"It's impossible for us to plan ahead and it's challenging for us to work with the content production community to give certainty around production going forward, so we definitely see an opportunity in the conversations with Te Māngai Paho to think more long-term."

He said the network was also competing against mainstream networks for funding from Te Māngai Paho.

"A lot of broadcast platforms in New Zealand are now seeing the Māori story as an opportunity in a way that we have not seen previously.

"You've got other broadcasters now showing Māori content that they probably didn't focus on three, five, 10 years ago so the competition for the funding of that content is now increased significantly."

Board chair Jamie Tuuta said quality content always came at a price, and he asked that the Crown recognise that.

"Audience are increasingly expecting high quality content, but as we all know, quality costs.

"And that is a real challenge for us when we're competing in this particular market in this space for people's time so it's in our view therefore of paramount importance that Māori Television receives appropriate levels of funding from Crown sources if we are to continue to be successful."