Story: Māori and television – whakaata

The importance of te reo

In this excerpt from a 1985 news programme, the case for broadcasting in te reo Māori (the Māori language) is made by journalist Derek Fox, psychologist Donna Awatere and Māori-language campaigner Huirangi Waikerepuru.

Fox, described in the programme as Māori broadcasting’s most recognisable face, was then producer and presenter of the nightly Māori-language news bulletin Te karere (which he had helped set up). He also worked on Koha, Kaleidoscope and Marae, and in the 1970s had set up Te Reo o Aotearoa, a radio unit for Māori and Pacific broadcasters. For more than two decades, Fox was one of those who pushed for Māori television; during the 1990s he was chair of the Māori Broadcasters Association (later Ngā Aho Whakaari). In the 2000s he became chairman of the board and briefly chief executive of the Māori Television Service.

Donna Awatere (later Awatere Huata) was a psychologist in Ōtara, Auckland. Waikerepuru led Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i te Reo (the Wellington Māori Language Board), which lodged the Wai 11 Te Reo Māori claim with the Waitangi Tribunal. The young reporter shown recording the Te karere story at the end of the clip is Hone Edwards, who went on to become a director, producer, kaihautū (leader) and commissioner of programmes with Television New Zealand and Māori Television.

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How to cite this page:

Tainui Stephens, 'Māori and television – whakaata - Growing capacity: 1980s and 1990s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/video/44612/the-importance-of-te-reo (accessed 25 September 2021)

Story by Tainui Stephens, published 22 Oct 2014