Maori Television to launch second channel

Maori Television has announced that it is to launch a second channel in 2008.

Maori Television Chief Executive Jim Mather announced Thursday 27th July that the new channel would broadcast in 100 per cent te reo Maori, initially during the prime time hours of 7.30 PM to 10.30 PM. It would transmit via the Freeview platform.

Mr Mather said the aim of the second channel was to better meet the needs of fluent Maori speakers, Maori language learners and to enable New Zealanders to have full immersion Maori language households. It provided greater opportunity for Maori Television to more effectively fulfill its statutory objectives, particularly in regard to increasing the promotion of language and culture.

“Fulfilling our statutory function of promoting te reo Maori me nga tikanga Maori in both the Maori and English languages, and appealing to a broad viewing audience, remains a high priority for the organisation,” Mr Mather said. “However, the advent of a second channel will ensure that the core constituents of Maori Television continue to have their Maori language expectations enhanced, without adversely impacting on the broad audience that the current channel has developed.”

He said the second channel would be programmed to complement the existing channel. Its launch would not change the programming schedule, operation or reo Maori content on the existing channel which had “proven to be a very successful formula with audience numbers continuing to grow”. The existing channel would also undergo further development with the addition of almost 500 additional hours of broadcast in the 2007-2008 year.

“Being a multi-channel broadcaster reinforces Maori Television’s development and progression, and further embeds Maori Television as a permanent feature of the New Zealand broadcasting landscape,” Mr Mather said. “We look forward to continuing to provide public service programming that meets the needs of both our Maori and non-Maori audiences, acknowledges the unique and integral place of Maori culture as part of the wider New Zealand culture, and promotes a sense of nationhood for us all.”

Key features of the new channel include:

Broadcasts three hours per day, seven days per week, during prime time from 7.30 PM to 10.30 PM. On-air hours are expected to increase over time.

100 per cent te reo Maori.

Advertising-free.

Schedule space available to iwi to provide iwi-specific information programmes. This is aimed at ensuring tribal dialects are broadcast and at profiling tribal activities and development.

Schedule will comprise up to 90 per cent local programmes.

30 to 45 per cent of the schedule is new programmes.

A particular focus on new programmes for the older, fluent audience.

All new programmes will be subtitled for second play on the existing channel.

Local and international documentaries reversioned into te reo Maori.

Maori Television’s second channel, which is yet to be named, is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2008.

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