All 21 Iwi radio stations throughout Aotearoa have unanimously given their support to the pioneer Māori radio station Te Upoko o Te Ika, in an effort to keep the station operating.
Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori (The National Māori Radio Network) Chairman, Rawiri Waru said, “At our meeting this week, a unanimous resolution was passed imploring the board and management of Te Māngai Pāho to restore the funding of Te Upoko o Te Ika to enable ongoing operations for the station,”
Te Ūpoko o te Ika is recognised as the foundation of Māori radio with its rich distinctive history, content, programming, and engagement into Māori opportunities nationwide.
Waru says, “We must not let our pioneering Māori radio station face closure,”
The Crown funding agency for Māori broadcasters, Te Māngai Pāho, informed Te Whakaruruhau that they had no choice but to withhold funding from the station due to unresolved licensing issues.
In a statement to Te Kāea Te Māngai Paho said, "Subject to confirmation that Te Ūpoko o te Ika has the consent of the license-holders to broadcast on 1161 AM, Te Māngai Pāho has agreed to continue the operational funding of Te Ūpoko o te Ika for the 2018/19 financial year.
Unfortunately, Te Māngai Pāho is not able to make any payment of funds under that agreement until Te Ūpoko o te Ika can confirm it has the consent of the license-holders to broadcast on the frequency."
Executive member of Te Whakaruruhau, Erana Keelan-Reedy adds, “A unanimous resolution was passed directing us as an executive to support Te Upoko o Te Ika, including engagement with relevant ministers and their officials, to ensure the license issues affecting Te Upoko o Te Ika are resolved, and its operational funding continued.”
The 21 Māori radio stations that make up Te Whakaruruhau o ngā Reo Irirangi Māori have united in support of Te Ūpoko o te Ika
Keelan-Reedy also believes it is time for Te Puni Kōkiri to enter the conversation and reassess the relevance of what it considers is an outdated policy approach.