Research into mainstream Maori television programs in New Zealand shows that programs about and by Maori for a wide audience are having a positive impact. The research was commissioned by NZ On Air to contribute to the broadcast funding agency’s policy making.
Mainstream Maori Programming discusses the history and current output of Maori programming on mainstream channels. NZ On Air chief executive, Jane Wrightson, said the research would result in new initiatives for mainstream Maori television programming. “NZ On Air currently funds some Maori programming, mainly in English, for a general audience that includes Maori. This helps ensure that Maori points of view and perspectives are included on programmes for TV One, TV2 and TV3, forming part of the general television diet,” Ms Wrightson said.
The research found challenges for television schedulers and Maori program makers: “But we also found that it’s possible to create powerful programmes that suit commercial broadcast imperatives, without compromising cultural integrity,” Ms Mohi said. “Of course there are professional differences between mainstream broadcasters and Maori programme makers. It takes work on both sides to understand these differences, but it’s worth the effort.”
Ms Wrightson said that increased opportunities provided by Maori Television and the TVNZ Maori Programmes department meant there was an increasing pool of skilled Maori programme makers. “Not all Maori programme makers want to work in the mainstream,” said Ms Wrightson. “The research shows that the cultural and professional differences mean it can be tough. But the rewards are the larger audiences that are available on those channels, and the increased cross-cultural understanding that can result.”