The Shifting Sands of Maori TV

CAPTION: An artist’s impression of the new Maori TV building in East Tamaki.

Paora Maxwell

Paora Maxwell has resigned as chief executive of Maori TV just as the channel moves to a new base in East Tamaki. Maxwell’s resignation comespart way through his contract and is attributed to unspecified “changes in his personal and business circumstances,”  Maxwell said.

Maxwell had previously been head of the Maori unit at Television New Zealand and the process for his appointment – championed by chairwoman Georgina te Heuheu  – was the centre of controversy. This week Maori TV sources linked his resignation to tensions in the relationship between management and Maori TV board over the selection of the leasehold building in East Tamaki. the source said. The building has required substantial spending on a fitout and has limited studio space.

Chairman and former National cabinet minister Georgina te Heuheu

Maori TV head of corporate affairs Rick Osborne declined requests to speak to the retiring chief executive or the chairman. He declined to discuss the departure of the chief executive. Asked about the status of the new building, Osborn said.

“I can confirm that the official opening of our new premises in East Tamaki will take place on Thursday 24 August. The news studio will be fully operational at the same time. The construction and design teams have been working hard to transform the existing building into a modern vibrant working environment. A production studio A production studio build at the new premises has been deferred at this time.The executive team is working through the operational impacts of this and will keep Maori Television staff and stakeholders informed and updated on developments,” he said.

A source said that said that delays in the board reaching a decision on a new location had complicated the arrangments. There were limited options given the deadline for leaving the current building. Owners of the Newmarket site had planned to develop it so Maori TV had to move. Maxwell had initially supported the idea of moving Maori TV to Rotorua using land supplied by local tribal interests for free.

The current building in central Newmarket.

This was opposed by many staff who would have had to move. It was also seen as identifying Maori TV with one tribal group – Te Arawa. Subsequently the Government had indicated it did not support the additional move south. Board member John Tamihere was called in to help find an Auckland location. In the past Maori TV said the said the aim was to utilise Maori land and own its own property and give it a permanent home.

The choice of East Tamaki may provide that. But it is leasehold. provides limited studio space, and requires substantial spending to use it as a TV station.

MTS issued a statement yesterday.

The Chief Executive of Māori Television Paora Maxwell has announced his resignation from the broadcaster. Maxwell said it has been a tremendous privilege to have led Māori Television through a challenging era for the entire industry.

“This has been a difficult decision but changing family and business circumstances has led to the need to dedicate my time to other commitments. Iwillalwayssupporttheimportant kaupapa of Māori broadcasting and am proud of Māori Television and its people who have worked very hard for the revitalisation of the Māori language,” says Mr. Maxwell.

Chair of the Board of Māori Television, Georgina te Heuheu acknowledged Mr Maxwell’s resignation.

“On behalf of the board we thank Paora for his work and commitment to Māori Television and wish him all the very best in his future endeavours. The Board will begin the process of recruiting a new Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief later in the year,” says Mrs te Heuheu.

Maxwell has spent three decades in broadcasting – in governance, senior management, executive producing and directing roles. He has led MāoriTelevision through the rapid and fundamental technological changes in the broadcasting industry.

As Chief Executive, Maxwell prioritised the development of multi-platform audience engagementincludingthetransitiontoHighDefinition. Heintroducedanumberofcrucial research initiatives to ensure stronger and informed decisions were made across programming.

In 2016, Maxwell guided the launch of the successful Matariki Awards which honoured New Zealanders. He has also managed the relocation to new office premises in East Tāmaki.

Maxwell said he takes pride in the ongoing initiatives for staff development which have taken place at Māori Television during his leadership.

“I have confidence in the senior executive team and all the kaimahi. It has been a privilege to see the positive changes they have achieved for the kaupapa.”

Maxwell will remain with Māori Television as Chief Executive until the end of August 2017 and will remain with Māori Television till the end of 2017 in a consultation role.

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