TV Review: Native Affairs


Once again, Native Affairs shows what a brilliant current affairs show can really do. Every week they lift the standard for TV Journalism. I wish i could write a bad review about Native Affairs, but it’s almost impossible. John Key himself would have to step in as the Executive Producer to diminish the genuine mana this show and its team have built.

Maori TV should feel a deep sense of pride in their flagship current affairs show. It gives hope to us all.

Okay, so the praise aside, where did this weeks show go. First up was a very hard hitting piece done on Air NZs ridiculous and let’s admit it, racist decision to not hire a Maori woman as an air hostess because she has a cultural tattoo.

The show highlighted the outright hypocrisy of Air NZs claim that most air passengers would find tattoos frightening by playing an Air NZ promotion that gave away prizes for people to get an Air NZ temporary tattoo on their heads.


Having the Native Affairs reporter sitting outside waiting and waiting and waiting for Air NZ to have the decency to front was just insult to injury. If Rob Fyfe was still the CEO, this would have been dealt with and changed immediately.

It is so embarrassing to have our national airline spouting such trash.

Air NZs service has always been a source of pride for NZ – this decision on cultural tattoos is a terrible blunder.

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Next story is a horror one on the level of deaths in the Forestry industry. Good to see Helen Kelly from the CTU lead debate and it’s shocking that workers are treated so terribly. It seems we are seeing the self regulation that made mining safety such a joke being replicated in Forestry.

When safety rules are written for the bosses, it is the workers who lose their lives. This is shit we were fighting in the bloody 1900s, why have we forgotten these lessons?

Then we got to the debate everyone was waiting for. The Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election candidates debate between Meka, Marama, Na & Te Hamua.

There has been a lot of criticism by passionate supporters of each of the candidates that Mihi was too harsh as an interviewer. I respect that passion, but it is totally ill placed. It is Mihi’s responsibility as host to hold everyone of them to account, and while that may jar with some, it is their obligation as journalists to ask the hard questions. Mihi did this respectfully and without flinching.

So it began and Te Hamua started off by sounding very humble, Marama was glowing, Na was proud & Meka already sounded like a politician.

The hard questions didn’t take long to start and Meka was hit hard by the manner in which she gained the candidacy. It has angered many within Labour and our tipline is running hot with angry Labour Party supporters wanting to knife their own candidate. The allegation is that Meka’s own brother was selected to make the final candidate vote which some claim was the difference with her winning by only one vote.

This hasn’t generated much attention by the mainstream media, but it is a crucial body blow to the unity Labour will require if they are to retain Ikaroa-Rawhiti. Labour have to win by a large margin or else they will give momentum to the Greens and MANA in the Maori seats that Labour so desperately need to win back if they are to have any hope of being on the Treasury benches come 2014.

Next up Na was grilled on what a sell out the Maori Party has been to National. He was very solid but even he must know this has every possibility of being the death rattle for the Maori Party. If they get 3rd, it’s over as a political movement and the Maori Party will be devoid of any momentum in next years election.

Te Hamua was grilled on money he was given to fight a brain tumor. The group who gave him the money told him to keep it so the amount of scandal here is zero. It didn’t stop the NZ Herald who have a long history of attacking Hone from reporting on this story yesterday. Hilariously they put the story into the ‘National’ section of their newspaper online as opposed to the ‘politics’ section because they wanted to play up the insinuation of corruption in a section that is better read than their politics section.

Marama was the clear winner on the night, her incredible rise in profile surely guarantees her a top 10 placing on the Green Party list, meaning she will be in Parliament come December 2014. The problem Marama poses however is most pressing for Labour. Her articulate philosophical answers will appeal to Labour’s educated female voting block helping lower Labour’s margin of victory to be in striking distance for the other candidates. Marama isn’t taking votes from Te Hamua, she’s taking them from Meka.

This seems to be playing out with the latest polls from Radio Waatea, Radio Ngati Porou and the Gisborne Herald Poll all showing Meka trailing to Te Hamua.

Maori electorates have shown themselves very capable of swinging in behind a new candidate and there is something of a whiff of that in this by-election. Labour must redouble their efforts on the ground and stop taking this by-election for granted. I still believe Labour have a very good chance of holding this seat, but the win must be large enough to stop the Greens & MANA from gaining momentum. I think Labour have already shown they’ve lost the second part of that and may only hold on by their fingernails.

Respects to Native Affairs and Mihingarangi Forbes for setting such an incredibly high standard of questions. Standing ovation stuff. If I was in charge of the hate crime against public broadcasting that is Seven Sharp, I would strap all 3 hosts into chairs and force them to watch Native Affairs on loop for a month.


  1. “I would strap all 3 hosts into chairs and force them to watch Native Affairs on loop for a month.”
    Please – go further! Deprive them of tea and toilet breaks as well. They’re such a drain on productivity after all.

  2. That’s your pick Bomber here’s mine. Te Hamua might be the new kid on the block, but just watch him rise and shine like the stars of Matariki on the horizon. A man of true integrity and MANA.

  3. Mihiarangi was brilliant! We saw calls for her to stand for Ikaroa Rawhiti! But really – it was great to see how respectful the candidates were to one another something that is significantly lacking in mainstream politics which are all about whakaiti and undermining ones opponents. Glad that our Maori candidates don’t feel compelled to treat each other that way.

    It’s exciting! Goooo Te Hamua!

  4. “Labour must redouble their efforts on the ground and stop taking this by-election for granted.”

    Why? I think they should put up posters emphasising how they plan to terrorise anyone who stands against them in the electorate. Then they should get Shearer to get a fake moko, wear a flax skirt, and play Ten Guitars. Chris Hipkins could dress up in an armed offender ninja uniform and talk tough at a roadblock on the confiscation line.

    The fewer votes they get, the better. Why would a Maori electorate vote for a Party who will only sell them out at the earliest opportunity? With a Mana or Greens representative, the people will have a representative. With Labour, they’ll have some flunky who has the choice of obeying Mallard and Hipkins or sitting next to Cunliffe on the back benches.

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