James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Maori TV board split on new boss

Source says pair in the running for chief executive's role will be interviewed again.

Richard Jefferies, left, and Paora Maxwell have been shortlisted for the chief executive role.
Richard Jefferies, left, and Paora Maxwell have been shortlisted for the chief executive role.

An impasse among Maori Television board members over selection of the station's new chief executive will see the two candidates for the top job reinterviewed this week.

Former TVNZ head of Maori and Pacific programmes Paora Maxwell and Richard Jefferies have been shortlisted for the chief executive role to replace Jim Mather who will take the top job at Te Wananga o Aotearoa late next month.

But the process has apparently stalled with Maori Television's board split over the two candidates.

A well-placed source said the board would reinterview both candidates, probably tomorrow, but a decision may not be made this week.

The person said both Mr Maxwell and Mr Jefferies possibly had equal numbers of supporters among the board members.

"I know for a fact that they can't agree on or decide on the candidates right now," the person said. "There are some definite feelings about who is the best person for the job but I would be surprised if they had a result ready this week."

Mr Maxwell's possible appointment has been criticised by dozens of Maori Television employees who last week signed a petition asking the board not to hire the broadcaster.

Mr Maxwell resigned from TVNZ in February amid grumblings over his dealings with staff.

A former colleague of Mr Maxwell at TVNZ said he understood Mr Maxwell left because he opposed moves to make Maori news programmes such as Te Karere and Marae Investigates more mainstream.

"He stood up and said no way to the bosses," said the colleague, who asked not to be named. "He surprised me and a number of others there because all of a sudden he was standing up for kaupapa Maori ... but he really surprised a lot of us in the way he stood up."

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