Time is starting to run out for finding a new studios for Maori TV The least on Newmarket studios doesn’t run out for nearly a year – but there are a lot of requirements for a TV studio. It might end up staying another five years in Newmarket – arguably Auckland’s least Maori suburb, said a Maori TV source who would not be named. The foundation CEO Derek Fox chose the present location back in 2004 and it has served the channel well, but the building is expensive and the five-year lease runs out in May 2017.
The Maori TV chief executive Paora Maxwell and chair Georgina te Heu Heu wanted the channel moved to Rotorua – with the argument the city was more steeped in Maori-ness.
Local Kaumatua Sir Toby Curtis was behind the idea and local Maori even offered free land for a new studio. But Auckland based staff were mostly against the idea, and some thought the tribal links would diminish its reputation into a regional enterprise. Auckland is seen by many as more pan-tribal. The issue also fed into a debate in Maoridom between the importance of tribal iwi, and the urban Maori movement led by Waipareira Trust chairman led Willie Jackson and John Tamihere who control Radio Waatea in Auckland. Anyway. More to the point, the government hated the idea and after a lot of legwork, Maori TV was forced back to the drawing board. Waipareira Trist took centre stage building a studio in West Auckland, Chief executive John Tamihere – backed by Jackson – worked on the Trust developing a new Maori TV HQ in West Auckland.
A TV producer who is not normally a JT fan, said he had came up with an impressive idea using the former Waitakere City Council chambers. Alas that had to be dropped because the conversion could not be complete before the Newmarket lease expired. Tamihere declined to comment on his task. But it is understood he is now trawling the streets of South Auckland for Maori TV to find a building under $9 million that could be easily converted into a Maori tinsel town.