New Zealand First's Shane Jones is calling for Te Māngai Pāho's board and chief executive to be sacked for funding a video by young influencers about Māori language which is being described as "poor taste and poor timing".

The video is by an online web series group called Hahana, funded by Te Māngai Pāho, and includes Rotorua's Waiata Jennings and Hinetaapora Short.

Jones said Rotorua was the cultural hub of New Zealand and anyone coming from here should know better than to joke about the Māori language.

Jennings was approached for comment but she said none of the people involved in Hahana were making public statements to the media outside of their official statement, which apologised for the video.


Short was approached for comment.

Te Māngai Pāho has said the video did miss the mark, but the error shouldn't be taken out of context. It said it was supportive of the young people creating innovative content in an attempt to reach out to young people.

The video, which was an attempt at satire, was meant to be similar to Taika Waititi's video on racism, but instead viewers took their views literally.

When asked what they thought about the language they replied in the video: "Let's end it", "I'm done", "I'm over it", "It's already too much if you ask me" and "My name is hard to pronounce. If only I was a Sam, a Jack, or a John, that would be so cool."

Online comments about the video included: "This should be deleted," "The satire doesn't work and it does more damage than what it was intended to do" and "Poor timing and poor taste".

But a Rotorua te reo enthusiast said people criticising the video needed to remember the youth involved are just kids.

In an official response posted online, with a second video showing how it pained the young people to say such things about their language, Hahana said: "This is what we were going for but we get that we missed the mark in execution and our intentions for this video weren't clear enough. We are sorry for the mamae it has caused. We've learned from this. We love being Maori! Arohatia te reo."

Jones said he was puzzled Māori language funding was used in this way.

"I have got no bad thoughts about these youngsters, they are just cultural grasshoppers but I don't want them chirping at the taxpayers' expense any more with that type of material."


Jones said he didn't want to attack the rangatahi but his focus now was on Māngai Pāho as he believed they should instead be spending the taxpayers' money funding Māori radio.

"After the election if I am back in politics and our party has an influence in broadcasting, we want a cleanout of that executive and that board. If I had my way before the hāngi's cooked, they'll be gone."

Rotorua te reo Māori enthusiast Mataia Keepa said a lot of people were passionate about Hahana's video and it showed there was a rise in people's positive attitudes about the language.

"My challenge to those who reacted last week is what are they doing today to help with the utilisation and usage of te reo Māori and what are they doing next week when it's no longer Māori Language Week when the spotlight on te reo Māori is not as bright."

He said those making comments needed to remember the young people involved in Hahana were "just kids".

"You don't always know what people are going through personally but you have the audacity to criticise them personally. A lot of people forget they are kids ... All I can think about is them and their families. I hope they have come through it and feel a bit better this week."


Te Māngai Pāho chairman Dr Eruera Prendergast-Tarena said supporting rangatahi to have positive attitudes towards te reo was critical to the language's survival.

"It is our view that one of the best ways to achieve this is to support innovative rangatahi content makers to create innovative rangatahi content.

"The Let's End It video released by Hahana was a controversial piece of rangatahi-orientated content that sought to generate discussion and challenge us all to act now, or risk losing te reo forever."

New Zealand First's Shane Jones. Photo / File
New Zealand First's Shane Jones. Photo / File

He said while he personally found the video "uncomfortable", he wasn't the intended audience and understood they were trying to encourage debate.

"We need to encourage our rangatahi to be brave and to be bold. I would draw upon the whakatauki E tata tapahi, e roa whakatū - despite missing the mark on this one occasion, Hahana's commitment and love for te reo is apparent in their broad catalogue of original content.

"It is my hope we can all learn from this experience, and collectively continue to evolve how we express our Māori culture and language, so it continues to thrive as a living language treasured in the hearts of all New Zealanders."


Te Māngai Pāho chief executive Larry Parr Hahana acknowledged it did miss the mark in terms of satire but said it didn't miss it by much. He said they had received some supportive comments amid the negative ones.

He said Hahana provided hundreds of hours of great content and this was less than two minutes where they didn't get it quite right.

"You've got to put it in context."

He declined to comment about Jones' call for the board to be fired.

The production company behind the video, Blackout Media, has been approached for comment.