Maori TV broadens horizons

A surge in enrolments in Maori media studies at AUT this year is but one sign of burgeoning opportunities for Maori in film and television.

Julian Wilcox, who mixes lecturing at AUT with work as a presenter at the Maori Television Service, is unsure how big a role the channel played in this.

"There's general awareness of an awakening of that Maori thing in film and television. And at the end of the day people are interested in getting a job after courses.

"Simply put, there are not enough people out there with language skills who are able to critique in a Maori way and get out and do Maori language programmes."

Videotape technician Steven Mahoney, 23, was snapped up by MTS in January, soon after completing AUT's Bachelor of Communication Studies. When MTS came calling, Mahoney was quick to enlist. "We call ourselves Ngati tapes. It's a busy, tight-knit team and I really like the atmosphere."

Maori TV has also expanded the horizons for programme makers. Production company Kiwa Films and Television has completed about 180 hours of programme reversioning - the painstaking task of dubbing cartoons and films into Maori using lip synchronisation while maintaining dramatic emphasis.

Executive producer Rhonda Kite says the opportunity to make programmes for MTS has brought work for actors, audio engineers, editors and admin staff.

Producer Nicole Hoey (Korero Mai), says the Maori production community has nearly tripled "in terms of production houses, output and innovative shows we have seen through Maori TV". Demand for Korero Mai means a DVD will soon be available and, inevitably, a website.

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