A Māori radio leader is applauding the government's move to prioritise Māori voices and perspectives in broadcasting.
Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson announced the government's next steps in its plan to help strengthen Māori media over the three years.
It includes six key actions such as updating legislation, improving coordination of the wider public media and supporting workforce development.
Manukau Urban Māori Authority chair Bernie O'Donnell said the move would be a huge benefit to the Māori media sector which had been underfunded for years.
"We have to understand the cupboard's pretty bare, in the last 10 years because of the equity in under-funding, under-resourcing people choose not to take a journalism broadcasting path because it's just too hard, too difficult but when you're getting paid pittance compared to what other careers can pay you," O'Donnell said.
There needed to be a balancing act to ensure the Māori media sector decided its future, he said.
"What is missing with that, we can't get the Crown to appropriate all our people and our talent, and all of a sudden it's those state agencies that are starting to tell Māori what they should sound like, what they should look like and most of all how they should think. That's the very real danger if we don't understand that there's still inequity issue in that space."
The government announced $40 million at the 2022 Budget to support Māori media to transition to a new public media environment and prepare it to deliver a fuller range of Māori content.
- $8m to go towards growing current workforce development initiatives
- $12m to maintaining and growing iwi media collaboration in news and current affairs
- $20m on the creative content that reflects Māori language, culture, stories and perspectives.
The broadcasting minister said now was the best time to make improvements to the Māori media sector.
"We are now in a strong position to grow the workforce, respond to advances in media, and work collaboratively with other agencies, such as Manatū Taonga, to progress this mahi," Jackson said.
Among the Māori Broadcasting Advisory Panel making recommendations to the minister was its chairperson Jason Ake, who said updating legislation around Māori broadcasting was well overdue.
"The last time the legislation was put in place was 20-30 years ago. Whakata Māori for example in the early 2000s that's nearly 20 years old now and also Māori radio goes back even further, so what needs to occur is an update of those legislative requirements for the entity."