TVNZ Plan To Outsource Maori, Pacific Programming Criticized

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New Zealand broadcaster claims it remains committed to communities

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Oct. 25, 2014) – The move by Television New Zealand to outsource production of its Māori and Pacific programmes is catastrophic for the communities it serves in New Zealand and the region, says the Auckland-based Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA).

PIMA says in a statement it is devastated by the announcement that may see the break-up of a team dedicated to analysing news in the Pacific community and making great informed programmes.

PIMA chair Sandra Kailahi is shocked to learn that TVNZ would consider such a move when the Pacific community in New Zealand is often misunderstood and then reported on without context or knowledge.

TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick says the move would align Māori and Pacific programmes such as Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika with other TVNZ-commissioned local productions and create an attractive opportunity for New Zealand’s independent production community.

"We remain fully committed to reflecting New Zealand’s unique cultural identity and diversity on screen and we respect our special role under legislation to do so. The obligation is set, our commitment remains – what we want to do is to step aside from the in-house production of these programmes," he is reported to have said.

The PIMA executive believes it will be difficult for outside organisations to match the knowledge, institutional background and cultural understanding amassed at TVNZ in Māori and Pacific progamming.

No-one told

No-one in the Māori and Pacific unit was told about the move and that also applied to the funding agencies.

PIMA believes outsourcing has consistently proved to be very difficult to manage and many New Zealanders will be familiar with the disaster that happened when the Education Ministry moved the teacher payroll to an Australian company called Talent 2.

Kailahi said that if the team was split then the programming would be a disaster for TVNZ as a regional centre of excellence and as a trusted source for accurate Pacific news.

PIMA said it was strongly opposed to this "short-sighted move" by TVNZ but was heartened to hear that the television company has firmly stated all programmes in the department are still in the current schedule and would continue.

According to PIMA, it is expected that a Pacific production company should produce Tagata Pasifika and Fresh and that the programmes should not be treated like the current stable of cooking, gardening or DIY shows as they both serve an important sector of New Zealand’s society.

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