TVNZ should be grateful for kapa haka deal with Maori TV – but public funding raises some questions

We deserve to be spared from this, too.

We deserve to be spared from this, too.

The people at TVNZ’s Te Karere should stop bleating about being squeezed out of next week’s national kapa haka championships by organisers who struck an exclusive deal with Maori Television.

So far as this observer is concerned, Te Karere has been done a favour.

If it can’t screen hapa haka, Alf is more likely to watch whatever else it does screen.

Yeah, we know it is big deal among some people – or at least, that’s what we are told here.

Te Matatini, the biennial competition, is expected to draw thousands to Rotorua to watch 41 teams for the four days from Thursday at the Rotorua International Stadium.

Te Karere obviously hoped for a slice of the action.

But hey – stiff luck.

Taxpayers (without having any say in the matter) have helped to gazump them.

The organisers of the competition have struck one of those exclusive deals that are increasingly common.

Maori TV are the beneficiaries.

Late on Monday night organisers sent an email to accredited media telling them only the official broadcaster, Maori TV – which received $399,610 from government funding agency Te Mangai Paho to show the event – would be allowed to film interviews with performing groups in a media tent.

This restriction was in addition to the station holding sole rights to broadcast the performances.

“I know this will cause challenges, especially for other TV media, however if Te Matatini Society Incorporated is to uphold its exclusivity agreement with the official television broadcaster, this restriction must be applied,” the email said.

Oh dear, what a shame. Never mind.

Te Karere went on the attack by taking the issue to Facebook followers yesterday.

It asked a question, then answered it:

“Should our biggest kapa haka event Te Matatini be given as much media coverage as possible? Of course it should, but unfortunately Te Matatini is allowing only one television broadcaster access to the event.

“All other media including Maori programmes like Te Karere have been shut out and won’t be able to report on a significant and positive Maori event like this. Over the top or fair game? Tell us what you think.”

Dunno about the responses and – frankly – don’t much care.

But the response of Te Matatini chief executive Darrin Apanui is a different matter.

He said the organisers had accepted that wider media coverage could be compromised but there was a compelling reason for choosing Maori TV.

“I think we’ve made a very bold statement. We’re about the promotion of Te Reo, and Maori development. We have a natural alignment there.”

It’s a refreshingly agreeable statement if it means we are spared having to watch much of this kapa haka stuff on TVNZ.

The same would apply, by the way, to good viewing time being consumed by opera, ballet or morris dancing.

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