The Chairman of the Maori Radio Network Te Whakaruruhau, Willie Jackson, called for an inquiry into the embarrassing level of Maori content on Radio NZ on the TVNZ news show Te Karere today.

Radio Waatea, the National Maori language current affairs and news provider conducted a 12 week audit of National Radio which revealed that out of 1440 hours of content Monday to Friday, RNZ played a mere 99 minutes of Maori content (0.1%) between November 2015 and January 2016.

The audit came about after Jackson challenged the Head of Content for Radio NZ Carol Hirschfeld over the cancellation of their Maori dedicated news Manu Korihi in October of 2015. Ms Hirschfield said there would be even more Maori news after the cancellation of the news show, but the 12 week audit of daily news posted on their very own website reveals something that is substantially different to what she promised.

Willie Jackson says that Carol Hirschfeld’s response was to predictably rubbish the audit. She said Maori are also mentioned on their national, political and regional web pages.

He says “sadly, Carol has fallen into the trap that others have in the past, who think that just because Maori are mentioned that this constitutes a Maori story, a little bit like the time when it was said that when Maori were on Police Ten 7 that constituted a Maori story. Maori being mentioned as part of other stories cannot be used in RNZ’s calculations of Maori stories.”

“We looked at Maori-specific news over the 12 weeks and used the facts that they provided on their website Monday to Friday, but even if we were to include the stories that Carol’s talking about, the percentage would still be less than 2%.”

As the Chair of Maori radio Jackson is seeking a response.

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He says “Maori radio must be accountable for everything we do, it’s time now for National Radio to to be accountable and give us an answer over why they treat Maori so disrespectfully. National Radio receive $35 million dollars a year and the Maori voice is not getting out there.”

Mainstream media continue to ignore this story. Carol Hirschfeld and the RNZ Chairman Richard Griffin need to front up and find a solution so that the Maori voice can be heard.


  1. Can you think of any other subgroup of the population with it’s own special interests and better exposure to compare Maori media time with (and prove your point)? Or should there not be any comparison. What about the unemployed, the sick/disabled, retirement aged people, people from Asian cultures, people who like intelligent political shows, people who live in the country or small towns, vegetarians…….get the point?

    You can, of course, argue that Maori are a special case, deserving not only of their own funded channels, but also an increased quota of specialized and positive content, (and, to be brutally honest, in many cases likely to be of interest almost exclusively to themselves), but that is a different argument from the simple “it’s not fair” you have adopted.

    I am happy to be proven wrong on this. Perhaps if you could analyse the amount of RNZ content which is specifically only of interest to non-Maori or certainly of no interest to any Maori, we can revisit the issue.

  2. We pakeha need the Maori voice to be strong as Maori are the ones who speak for the environment that is still somewhat safe due to their past strong voice so yes give the funding to them to retain a strong voice for our common good for gods sake Carol Hirschfield and the RNZ Chairman Richard Griffin need to front up and find a solution so that the Maori voice can be heard.

  3. Both the Maori and the English language can work well side by side
    – I have seen and heard some examples within our media, there are not a lot, but it is possible. The children’s programme ‘tiki tour’ is one of these examples.
    The Maori culture is unique to New Zealand, we need to embrace it – not shun it, as is happening at present.

  4. @Nick. Firstly Maori are not a “special” case.
    Maori are the Tangatawhenua of Aotearoa. Maori is one of the three official languages of New Zealand. English and Sign Language being the other two. Just take a moment to absorb and come to grips with those facts.

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