24 Aug 2018

Longest running Māori radio station wins reprieve

6:30 pm on 24 August 2018

The country's oldest Māori radio station will remain on air following a breakthrough meeting with its license holders today.

Māori broadcaster, Te Ūpoko o Te Ika.

Te Ūpoko o Te Ika, the longest running Māori radio station, has overcome a threat of closure. Photo: RNZ / Te Aniwa_Hurihanganui

Te Ūpoko o Te Ika staff feared the station based in central Wellington would close down, after its monthly funding was cut off in June.

Under recent crown agreements, the licence for the station, which has been operating since 1985, was given to local iwi Ngāti Toa and Te Āti Awa.

RNZ understands the iwi blocked the station from receiving funding, and proposed it merge with their own iwi station instead.

The iwi groups did not respond to requests for comment on documents leaked to RNZ earlier this month about funding for the station.

Larry Parr from funding agency Te Māngai Pāho said the iwi and station had come to an agreement about the future of the 33-year-old station.

"The licence holders agreed that Te Ūpoko o Te Ika be permitted to continue broadcasting on the 1161 AM frequency for a further 12 months.

"All parties agreed that they would work together to agree a new collaborative approach to both frequencies and content," Mr Parr said.

Minister of Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta has welcomed the solution.

"I am pleased that common sense has prevailed and that the iwi and the station are working together," she said.

"It's a relief to hear that there is a commitment between the parties to work to a sustainable solution for the station."