Closure of Māori radio station & # 39; unimaginable & # 39;

The longest existing Māori radio station in the country could fly out of the air in a few weeks if it can not secure funding.

The studio in Te Ūpoko o Te Ika might be empty in a few weeks.

The studio in Te Ūpoko o Te Ika might be empty in a few weeks.
Photo: RNZ / Te Aniwa_Hurihanganui

Māori broadcaster, Te Ūpoko o Te Ika, has survived for 33 years, but the central station of Wellington is on the edge of the closure.

It urgently calls for government support, where the reserve funds are expected to be up for a month faster than expected.

Due to a continuous dispute with its licensees, the station has no longer had access to the monthly operational financing of $ 40,000 from the commissioning agency Te Māngai Pāho.

The station initially thought that the reserve funds would last until October, but a recent assessment has shown that this could last until the end of the month.

Closing means not only that the 11 employees lose their jobs, but also that there will be an end to a unique, independent Māori voice in the broadcasting landscape of Aotearoa.

The silent sign may become superfluous in Te Ūpoko o Te Ika in a few weeks time.

The silent sign may become superfluous in Te Ūpoko o Te Ika in a few weeks time.
Photo: RNZ / Te Aniwa_Hurihanganui

Former Te Ūpoko o Te Ika Broadcaster and Chief Operating Officer at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Julian Wilcox, said that government ministers, especially Māori ministers, should step up and advocate the future of the station.

"It is unimaginable and it is inconceivable that we, as in Māori radio, but also the Māori ministers within the government, our foundation Māori radio station, our tuakana, our elder brother or sister, and what we could do our mātāmua call, to allow to cope with the closure, let alone to be closed, something has to happen.

"We have a number of Māori ministers in the government, and we have a former president of Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Irirangi Māori, Māori's national radio network in Willie Jackson, who not only knows how important the Māori radio role is. radio plays in our communities, but also the impact and value that Māori radio has in terms of the revitalization of te reo Māori. "

He said that the Ministers of Māori were relatively silent about the matter.

"To keep those ministers, and Minister Willie Jackson in particular, on the issue, that we do not hear them on this issue, is not good enough."

Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Irirangi Māori, who represents the 21 iwi radio stations of the country, also extends his support to former chairman and broadcaster Willie Jackson.

Manager Ebony Duff said the station was desperate for help.

"The minister's broadcast experience, his facilitating skills and his intimate knowledge of Te Whakaruruhau and the radio network – I think it's time to call on his help and expertise to facilitate those conversations that are needed."

Under licensing agreements from 2011, Te Ūpoko o Te Ika needs permission from local Iwi Ngati Toa Rangatira and Te Atiawa before it can get funding from commissioning agency Te Mangai Paho.

Local Iwi Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Te Āti Awa have proposed that the station be merged with its own Hutt-based station, which would be exclusively owned by iwi.

RNZ understands that the iwi have left the station without another option.

The employees of Ūpoko o Te Ika can not comment at this stage, but the board member Piripi Walker said that the staff were told to prepare for the worst and to look for opportunities for work elsewhere.

RNZ can not yet be heard from Mr. Jackson.

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