Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices – MP Pita Sharples

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TangataWhenua.com Eds: On this day, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, sadly there is no mention whatsoever of the incredible work that Maori are doing online (NOT just in the way of social media) the websites that we have seen emerge (Maori-in-oz.com, MaoriNews.com, TeNews.com) not to mention the incredible websites of Tribal Authorities which actively use the internet to share critical panui, press releases and korero (Ngati Rangatihi, Ngati Whakaue, Ngapuhi, Ngati Awa, to name but a few). Each of these sites has allowed whanau to “reconnect” and “gain insight” into what it means to be Tangata Whenua.

Even the Maori Media Awards still don’t acknowledge or recognise online contributionsin this field, so although today is about celebrating, it is also about reflecting on how far we have come and how much further we need to go.

That said, personally we thank Te Mangai Paho for their support, they have been visionary in their approach to Maori news and we can see that they understand the changing media landscape.Mauri ora!

The theme of this years International Day of the Worlds Indigenous People has been welcomed by the Minister of Maori Affairs as an opportunity to celebrate the work of indigenous media in influencing the social and political agenda.The focus of this years International Day is“Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices”.

When I stood in New York in April 2010 and announced New Zealands support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it was one of the proudest moments of my life said Dr Sharples.

In my korero on that historic day Iacknowledgedthe determination of Maori that custom, worldviews and cultural heritage should be reflected in the laws and policies of New Zealand. Two years on we recognise the amazing contribution that whanau, hapuand iwi leadership and Maori organisations play in every sphere of influence. And we know this because our indigenous media is capturing the nuances of every debate.

Today we celebrate the success of indigenous media television, radio, film and social media in bringing indigenous values and voices into every home said Dr Pita Sharples. This year Te Upoko o te Ika marked twenty five years of Maori radio and broadcasting. We now have 27 iwi radio stations broadcasting on 68 frequencies specifically reserved for the promotion of Maori language and culture. Its a fantastic example of indigenous enterprise and investment in our future.

As we approach a decade since the Maori Television Service Act(Te Aratuku Whakaata Irirangi Maori)came into being I will soon be announcing proposed legislative amendments thatwill fine-tune and future-proof Whakaata Maori and reflect its ongoing commitment to our language. The Maori Television Service Amendment Bill will support them on their quest to becoming a world-class indigenous broadcaster and I look forward to a collective commitment to that course.

Empowering indigenous voices is also about an enhanced emphasis on language revitalisation. Just last month Maori Television announced increased Maori language tuition programming. While the statutory commitment to te reo is significant, I want to also commend the broadcaster for promoting the indigenous voice in many aspects whether it beKai time on the Road;reconnecting people with their whakapapa (Tatai hono); gaining an insight into taonga and art forms(Te Irikura)or preserving our collective history such as in the ANZAC Day commemorations.

As Minister of Maori Affairs I have key responsibility for upholding the role ofTe Mangai Paho in actively protecting and promoting Maori language and culture by funding content for television and radio broadcast.I believe that broadcasting can have a significant impact on the way we see ourselves as New Zealanders. World Indigenous Peoples Day reminds us all of the incredible difference being made by indigenous broadcasters.

 

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