Maori TV is close to naming a new chief executive.

Former Television New Zealand general manager of Maori and Pacific programmes Paora Maxwell is believed to be the frontrunner.

A decision was said to be close three weeks ago.

Spokeswoman Diane Berghan said that Maori Television would need to negotiate once he or she had been selected.

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Maori Television head of production and high- profile broadcaster Carol Hirschfeld is understood to be among applicants. She said today she had checked, and no decision had yet been made.

Maxwell is well known in Maori broadcasting circles and credited by some with upgrading Maori programming at TVNZ. However TVNZ Maori news and current affairs executive Shane Taurima is said to have had a significant role.

Maxwell is said to have a good rapport with Maori TV chairman Georgina Te HeuHeu.

AUT general manager of relations Vivien Bridgwater acknowledged she had considered applying, but her commercial background was not right for the role, she said.

She is a founder of the Maori commercial radio station Mai FM.

There are tensions at Maori TV as it juggles its role as popular broadcaster and its obligations to focus on promoting Maori language.

The chief executive vacancy follows the resignation of chief executive Jim Mather in February for a new role at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Mather has been on study leave for several months and will take up his new role in October.