May 18, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

RNZ’s Decision to Cut Watea News needs Proper Scrutiny

2 min read

Radio New Zealands decision, to stop broadcasting Watea News bulletins as a cost-cutting measure, needs proper scrutiny, says the Maori Party.

Maori voices are not well represented on Radio New Zealand, said Maori Party language and culture spokesperson Te Ururoa Flavell.

Maori groups have fought long and hard for access to the airwaves, and met staunch resistance from mainstream radio, he said.

Maori language and Maori viewpoints are almost entirely absent from commercial radio, and are confined to ghetto slots on National Radio, he said.

Radio New Zealand is supposed to fulfil the Crowns obligations to protect and promote te reo Maori through broadcasting. Those obligations are set out in a series of court decisions in cases that went from the Waitangi Tribunal to the Court of Appeal, as far as the Privy Council and back.

The decisions refer to the requirements on public broadcasters, as well as iwi radio. But it seems Radio New Zealand is ignoring its legal obligations, which could leave Ministers open to attack.

The amount of Maori language broadcast on National Radio is derisory, and, apart from Watea News, their only regular Maori programming is broadcast on Sunday evening when the audience is relatively small.

The result is monocultural programming that gives Maori listeners very little confidence that Radio New Zealand can clearly and fairly represent Maori viewpoints in news that they produce themselves.

With this move coming on top of his recent decisions to abandon the TVNZ charter, the Minister of Broadcasting is almost challenging Maori to take the whole issue of Maori voices on mainstream broadcasting back to the courts for a review, said Mr Flavell.


Mero Rokx, Executive Assistant

(04) 817-6953 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (04) 817-6953 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

1 thought on “RNZ’s Decision to Cut Watea News needs Proper Scrutiny

  1. At first I thought this was a bit rich coming from Flavell given that his party is supporting the government which froze RNZ's funding, but after reading in the Herald that they turned down Waatea's offer to give their content free for 12 to 18 months I think the criticism is fair. Especially given that Radio NZ has only 6% Maori content. Surely there is something else that should be cut first

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