May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Digital Futures – Submission on planning for Digital TV and Maori

5 min read

Digital Futures: A Submission from Potaua Biasiny-Tule,

It is recorded in my history that our Beginning moved through a series of stages, phases and evolutions that drew Te Kore, Te Po and Te Ao Marama, primordial entities that represent our very essence of being. From each level comes understanding, within each level comes belonging and from these manifestations comes our Sky Father, Ranginui and our Earth Mother, Papatuanuku. These have been recorded and establish a celestial connection between the Earth upon which we stand up toward the Sky which stretches above. From their children I draw strength Tawhirimatea of the Winds, Tane Mahuta of the Forests, Tangaroa of the Oceans, Tumatauenga of the Righteous, Rongomatane & Haumietiketike of all Flora, Fauna and Ruaumoko of the Stirring Potential.

Each of these essential elements indicate the place of importance in my line of descent, as it also recognises the markers between my surroundings, my korero and the kaupapa I would like to discuss. My whakapapa draws down to myself, Potaua Biasiny-Tule from the issue of Tuhoe, of the Rakuraku whanau, who reside on the lands in the valley of Te Waimana Kaaku ki Te Rohe Potae o Tuhoe. In the shadow of our sacred mountain, Maungapohatu, I recognise and remember the convergence of the terrestrial with the celestial and celebrate the line of our ancestor, Hinepukohurangi. We acknowledge these two in particular, for had the bond between the sky and the earth not been made, we as Tuhoe would not be here.

It must also be remembered that we are from no waka, but made from this union.

There are others best skilled to talk about this. At this time, as I speak from Rotorua, I would like to mihi to Koro Manny Kameta, to Tukino Rangirangi and to Sir Howard Morrison, as we whakapapa through our connection to Puhaorangi, to Tamatekapua, through Ihenga, through Hatu Patu, toward Tutanekai, toward Pikiao, again stretching from Maketu to Rotorua to Taupo to Tongariro. The relationship with this expanse remains the domain of Te Arawa, under the authority of our Hapu, as guided by each Rangatira and the Whanau Whanui. We must never forget who holds the mana of the land upon which all these devices will be built and transmit and how by right of occupation each area must be respected and approached as the host, never the guest.

This is my submission in response to the Digital Futures proposal.

As a new format, Digital Transmission will change the very nature of how we receive information in this country and with the World. It will include all Maori ki Aotearoa nei, in particular the Digital Switch Over (DSO), in that the analogue system will be replaced by a new digital set of transmissions and for this reason that I express much concern. There are numerous legal opinions, most notably Waitangi Tribunal reports Wai 11, Wai 26, Wai 150 and Wai 776, from where a right to Maori inclusion, if not clear participation in the allocation of digital transmission rights, can be made.

Though political parties may ignore the findings and political expediency denies Maori interests, rights and responsibilities to upcoming digital transmission rights, it remains clear that participation beyond consultation is essential as affirmed by the Treaty of Waitangi. My concern comes in the current treatment by the Government in that it excludes, or more does not actively include Maori, discounting the importance of the Treaty of Waitangi. This was made evident during the Maori Stakeholder Hui (Wellington, Sept 09) where Ian Hutchings and most directly, Kirsty Johnston ([officials] Radio Spectrum Policy & Planning) announced that a DSO Steering Group had been formed, consisting of Government and Industry but not Maori.

Besides the obvious point why are industry allowed to help ration the pie? the equally obvious point is why are Maori being ignored? Again?

If the principles are to maximise the benefit of New Zealand, I must ask how? After researching the DSO in the UK and the United States, could see that cleaner, clearer transmissions were appreciated and also saw how established Digital Broadcasters creamed the market. In our instance, it would seem evident that Sky TV would benefit hugely, as they currently hold massive market share and market revenue. Are SKY TV represented on the DSO Steering Committee? If so, why? The proposed Band Plan, as shown during the Hui, marginalised all Maori spectrum interests. We were told by [MED official] that it was best for Maori to service Block C Rural Broadband, as it was cheap, that is where our people lived and that other interests were already in play for Block A, namely those who could afford the capital investment.

Could this be TVNZ? TV3? SkyTV? Are these groups also members of the DSO Steering Group? Again, how did they earn a seat that Maori could not? In my opinion, Maori should request a strip of Digital Transmission rights that runs through Blocks A, B, C and D.

It would allow us the opportunity to engage at all levels of this new digital landscape that is forming, firmly giving local roots which will stay and grow. This includes Digital TV, Wireless Internet, Regional TV, reaching out toward Satellite Transmission but in particular those soon to be allocated Digital Spectrum, as well as the soon to be unoccupied Analogue Frequencies. There has been little mind nor action with Maori around the DSO, yet much attention to Industry, prompting me to ask will the Digital Switch Over be nothing more than a Big Rip Off?

If the Government again ignores Maori rights, it will willingly sell interests that we share, through genealogy, through the Treaty of Waitangi, through common use, short-terming an influx in auction revenues and licence fees and denying the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi between the Government and Maori. This is a new time as it introduces a new stream of digital transmissions, utilising new technologies, new infrastructure and still without firm policies.

Why not some new thinking and this time involve Maori?

Potaua Biasiny-Tule

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