TV staff a-Twitter over trip

By Amelia Wade

Maori television broadcaster on a fact finding trip to Norway for Maori TV tweeted this picture of himself. Photo / Supplied
Maori television broadcaster on a fact finding trip to Norway for Maori TV tweeted this picture of himself. Photo / Supplied

Maori Television may not be revealing the cost to taxpayers - but at least the public can keep track of how five staff members are spending their time on an expedition to Norway.

And it ranges from visiting an icebar to rubbing shoulders with royalty and reindeer.

Five people at the channel, including Native Affairs presenter Julian Wilcox, have been sent to the Arctic Circle for a week-long indigenous broadcasters' conference to help strengthen relationships and to attend seminars.

It's been confirmed that Wilcox, who is also an associate producer on Native Affairs, and Maori TV chief executive Jim Mather were the two who had their trips and accommodation paid for.

Norway-based Sami Radio sponsored the trips because they were both giving presentations at the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Conference.

The other three - general manager production Carol Hirschfeld, general manager programming Haunui Royal and another unnamed executive - were paid for by the taxpayer despite tough times for public broadcasting.

Spokeswoman Diane Berghan said they flew economy class but still would not reveal the total costs of the trip.

Maori TV declined to name the fifth person on the trip but Shannon Haunui, who identifies herself as a journalist, has been tweeting from Norway about the conference.

Ms Haunui attended a presentation given by Mr Mather, saying: "Jim Mather just gave an amazing korero. It's so beautiful here, a winter wonderland."

And last night she said she was in a climate change lecture given by the Prince of Monaco.

"Even here in snowy Norway it had a major effect."

Ms Berghan did not return the Herald's calls about Ms Haunui.

Meanwhile, Wilcox has also been tweeting his experience - including going to a graduation ceremony for a group of reindeer herders in Kautekeino with a royal guest.

"Prince Albert of Monaco and party at a graduation of reindeer herders in Kautekeino. We are not alone!"

Earlier in the trip, shortly after the Maori TV entourage arrived, Wilcox tweeted a photo of the group's hotel and hinted that the team were combining business with pleasure.

"Norway is cool. Just finished one shot in the icebar! Seminar presentation in 7 hours on award winning indigenous journalism."

* Correction: A report on a Maori TV trip to Norway erroneously referred to general manager production Carol Hirschfeld as "programming boss'' and general manager programming Haunui Royal as "Maori language programmer''. Also, the story said the channel had declined to reveal costs but Maori TV says it had been too soon to determine the costs but now confirms $24,500 was budgeted.

- NZ Herald

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