MEDIA WATCH – Paora Maxwell, a liability.



For some reason most staff at Māori TV didn’t want to work for their new CEO, Paora Maxwell. Apparently he has a reputation for being phenomenally rude to people. But despite unprecedented staff opposition, warnings from the outgoing CEO and the resignation of a MTS Board Member – Georgina Te Heuheu, Paora’s mate and Chair of the MTS Board, got him the job.

Hone Harawira warned that Paora would weaken Māori Television’s news and current affairs department and he was right. The department has been under attack from conservative Māori forces since it broke and pursued the Kōhanga Reo story. Māori Television has become NZ’s public service television broadcaster (filling the vacuum left by TVNZ) with an impressive amount of local programming, Maori programming and even non-Māori programming such as international documentaries and feature films. They even took Russell Brown’s Media 7 franchise to form Media Take.

Paora Maxwell supports government coalition partner, the Māori Party, and not surprisingly within a few months of entering the building, the two most well-known ‘liberal’ voices had been made redundant – Carol Hirshfeld and Julian Wilcox. The sheer magnitude of this loss of experience and talent is huge, and as so many people warned and feared, it suggests that Paora is looking to move things to the right within Māori Television.

An even more disturbing action emerged last week when Hone claimed his invitation to appear on the live final of Native Affairs had been revoked by the CEO, Paora Maxwell himself.

It would be shockingly unethical for a CEO to get involved in editorial decisions on the flagship current affairs show, and if it’s true it marks a new low. Hone has emails showing the withdrawn invite, and claims to being told in he was a persona non grata. That’s been confirmed to me personally by one of the Native Affairs staff – Paora put the kybosh on Hone appearing alongside Tau Henare and Dover Samuels. My contact reckons it’s because Hone criticised Paora’s appointment as CEO.

Tau Henare had something to say about it during the actual programme, “You know Hone was asked onto this programme and then they said he couldn’t come on”

The Māori TV presenter tries to shut him down, but later he piped up again “You haven’t answered the question about Hone though”.

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Awkward for the programme producers. But they still showed some spine by dedicating the last 15 minutes to the departing Julian Wilcox.

We watch with nervous dread that Native Affairs becomes just another magazine show.


Nicole Williams is a Coalition for Better Broadcasting Member


  1. sickened by this move to the right – its disrespectful to the memory and hard work of those who came before – Maxwell despised –

  2. Oh no – there goes our last true public broadcaster. Nice to have known you Maori television. Nothing left to do but sell the television now, as all NZ’s public broadcasters have gone to the dogs!

  3. I was wondering how long it would be before “Native Affairs” was neutered by this current government and it’s fellow travellers in the Maori Party…

    All that’s missing is a Maori-version of Mike Hosking, with a giggling female co-host, to front “Native Affairs”, and the dumbing down of our electronic media (exception being Radio NZ – for the moment) will be complete.

  4. No doubt the talented Native Affairs presenter Mihingarangi Forbes will be the next casualty.
    The Maori Party like its evil coalition partner do not take kindly to criticism.
    The new CEO has done a huge deservice to broadcasting, to Maori and to all New Zealanders and no doubt will be rewarded with a Knighthood.

  5. I couldn’t understand why new Maori Party list MP Marama Fox got a standing ovation for her first speech in Parliament given how ironical it was when the party is in coalition with National. In another light hearted question and answer piece in the Wairarapa Times Age she said “The person I would least like to be stuck in a lift is: Kim Dotcom. Please, just go home.” which made me wonder just how intellectually acute she is.

    “She received a standing ovation at the conclusion of her speech, in which she declared herself a champion for equality and a voice for those who struggled to find their future.”


    “[I want] to build a nation where our children are not plagued by hunger, where our children are not reared on a diet of drug and alcohol-fuelled parties, where our children are not schooled by those who do not know how to say their name, or taught by those who do not believe in them, or harmed and exploited by those who are supposed to protect them.”

  6. I was at the final of Homai Te Paki Paki last night in a packed Logan Campbell Centre. Before the show went to air there was an impromptu farewell to Julian Wilcox by one of the show’s hosts, Brent Mio. Julian seemed to not know about it and was reluctant to come on stage, and also didn’t want to say anything. Brent said that Julian was a true leader and had shown the way for younger Maori presenters. He also said that many would follow Julian wherever he went and that he expected to see him back at MTV one day. It was very moving even though Brent tried to keep it lighthearted.

    Mr Maxwell was in the audience.

    What a great show it was – amazing entertainment and the two presenters were very funny. There was a lot of wonderful family recognition and diversity of performers you just don’t see on X-factor. I’ll definitely be back again next year.

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