Waatea News Column: The Maori Political debates have been the best so far


I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible election coverage offered up so far by our Māori media.

TVNZ’s Marae, The Hui, Te Ao with MOANA & Māori TVs Māori electorate debates have all been must-see TV coverage to understand what the issues really are and what the candidates will really do.

They have been genuine battles of ideas and philosophy and while very cutting at times in their criticism, no one was ever disrespectful.
There is a mana enhancing approach to Māori media that allows for real insight.

The debates have shown a true depth of character in the candidates and while it would be difficult to pick winners, I think Willie Jackson’s RNZ debate performance, Kiri Allen’s youth debate and John Tamihere’s Powerbroker Debate were standouts.

Highlights so far have been the Winston Peters and Willie Jackson interview on Te Ao with MOANA and all the Hui electorate debates.

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It is remarkable that despite a freeze on Māori media funding and a pandemic that has only made things more difficult, the flax root Māori media community have constantly created the best political coverage so far in this campaign.

That matters, especially when we consider the disinformation and conspiracy theories that have spread on social media this election.

Whoever becomes the next Government, extra funding to support the incredible journalism and work Māori media do so that conspiracy theories don’t gain traction is essential.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. Couldn’t agree more, nasty one liners, butting in and shouting down one another is not good for anyone including the candidates. In fact it is sad the candidate feels they have to lower themselves to use such tactic in order to get buy in from the voters and our vicious mainstream media. While we want our leaders to show some spine, a fighting spirit, conviction and courage, the mainstream medias debating forums are more than often void of policy and more like a boxing match without the gloves. Last night I watched the debate on the Maori channel all in Te Reo. Now as I don’t speak Te Reo some of it was hard for me to understand but the body language, the passion, the laughter, the respect and dignity in which everyone of the speakers displayed put our mainstream media political debates to shame. To the Maori channel and their presenters, I would like to say, ‘Ka mau te wehi’.

    • We only have TV no sky or Netflix . There are a few programmes worth watching on TV 1 the odd one on TV 3 so most nights we turn to Maori TV . It is a pity main stream TV do not show the positive stories that are on Maori TV . The work put into Kapahaka partisipation the hunting programmes even the movies are better and Anzac Day they put the other channels to shame.
      I do not speak Maori but most of the programme is subtitled .

    • “Last night I watched the debate on the Maori channel all in Te Reo. Now as I don’t speak Te Reo some of it was hard for me to understand”

      How very virtue signalling of you, so if no sub titles…which parts did you understand? The adverts!

      • Now now, im right are you upset cause your precious national are getting their butts kicked. You are showing your nasty and patronising side. The best way to learn Te Reo is to listen and the more you listen the more you learn. Now I did say I cant speak I didn’t say I can’t understand some.

        • Haahaa….you realise this works with say a movie or a drama, may not understand what they are saying but can follow the plot to some extent!
          But a DEBATE!!…how very woke of you, utter nonsense you posted but ‘it was involving a minority group so I feel I have earned brownie points for saying I watched it’ (and understood what was happening because of body language..snigger)

          • And calling us a minority group my my nasty. And its nothing like following the plot of a movie. Listening is the key and knowing some of the basics and language follows a pattern just like tikanga practises on the Marae.

            • Maori are 15-17% of the population, sorry if it upsets you, but a minority!
              ‘We were here first’ means nothing when it was the signing of the treaty that saved Maori from killing each other, genocide between warring tribes would have wiped out all but the biggest tribe(s)


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