John Drinnan

Media writer for the New Zealand Herald

Maori TV staff protest CEO option

Paora Maxwell is replacing Jim Mather who is to become chief executive of the education body Te Wananga o Aotearoa. Photo / Greg Bowker
Paora Maxwell is replacing Jim Mather who is to become chief executive of the education body Te Wananga o Aotearoa. Photo / Greg Bowker

Questions are being raised inside Maori Television about the appointment process for a new chief executive.

A well-placed source said nearly half of the staff have signed a petition against expectations the board will be hiring Paora Maxwell.

Maxwell is believed to be one of the two finalists for the role of chief executive of Maori TV, replacing Jim Mather who is to become chief executive of the education body Te Wananga o Aotearoa. Efforts to contact Maxwell yesterday were unsuccessful.

The other finalist, believed to be Richard Jefferies, is from outside the media world and a Maori development consultant based in Opotiki.

The petition was signed by at least 68 of the 170 staff at Maori TV.

Maori TV has declined to comment but the petition marks a return to troubled relationships at the broadcaster harking back to the days before Mather took control in February 2005.

Staff were told yesterday the petition was to be presented to the board but it is not clear if this has happened.

Two approached by the Herald said there was concern at the processes followed by the board during the search for a new CEO.

Chairwoman Georgina Te Heu Heu would not be interviewed but said the board was "...following a rigorous recruitment process which it will see through to its conclusion.

"No one has been appointed yet, there will be no further comment until a decision has been made."

A Maori broadcasting source said the board got the finalists down to a shortlist of four including Maxwell and Jefferies, Maori Television Service head of production Carol Hirschfeld and Singapore-based sports broadcaster Mike Rehu.

Subsequently the short list had come down to two, Maxwell and Jefferies.

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