Māori Television holds staff kura reo to help reach 2020 target

By Raniera Harrison

Today, Māori Television took its first step forward in the process to become completely bilingual.  However, will the government continue to support the station in its new drive to grow the language?

From cameramen to sound operators - the many faces of Māori Television today began their very first exclusive Māori language acquisition course in the company's 13-year history in the hope that those broadcasting in the language can be exposed to a new Māori experience of their own.

Reo Māori exponent Pania Papa (Ngāti Korokī-Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta) says, "If one understands the language, they have a more broad view of the world, they are able to delve more into the Māori world."

Another level definitely reached - but at what cost? $50,000 alone has been reserved for promoting the Māori language strategy this year, with the hope to fatten the figure in the new year.

"The language is the blood of the company and of the business. All business models in New Zealand should follow this precedent set by Māori Television," says Papa.

Reo Māori exponent Leon Blake (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Ngāi Tūhoe) says, "If Māori Television can continue this trend in bringing together all of its employees - not just those in front of the camera."

In November 2015, two positions of Māori Television were disestablished after the broadcaster released its reo strategy.

Māori Television's new CEO Keith Ikin says, "The most important thing to me is the workers' dedication towards learning the Māori language, no matter what level they're at."

The station is currently undertaking processes to make Māori Television completely bilingual by 2020, however, it is completely aware that just wanting a state of bilingualism does not always equate to such.

Māori Television's Head of People, Language and Culture, Pouroto Ngaropo says, "For the language to become entrenched, at home, and full of vitality."

Māori Television's very first full immersion language course will run its duration until tomorrow.