Something to celebrate, take our minds off the continued debacle playing out in Wellington.
Three cheers for our police officers as they continue to show the patience of Job while I suspect, wanting nothing more than to get back to routine policing for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
Instead of having to watch and babysit a crowd, who may initially have had a legitimate reason for parking up in the Beehive grounds, but now dissolving into nothing more than a s***** mess.
The celebration I'm talking about is the 40th Anniversary of Te Karere, TVNZ's Māori news and current affairs programme. It started broadcasting on mainstream TV in 1982. It's hard to think where New Zealand would be today if it wasn't for those brave New Zealanders who insisted Māori current affairs was important, not only to them, but for all New Zealanders.
It was a genuine and strenuous attempt to inform and educate New Zealanders at a time when ignorance was bliss. Forty years ago the majority of New Zealanders still had no idea of what was important to Māori, their aspirations or even how they lived in their own country.
Te Karere has played a major role in educating the Pākehā population of New Zealand.
The prevailing view at the time was that TVNZ covered what New Zealanders wanted to see and hear. It riled against repeated requests for some Māori news content to be aired. It failed to see that Māori often saw what was happening around them quite differently to other New Zealanders.
They wanted Māori views shared, understood and respected.
Names of the researchers and reporters from Te Karere's early years; Derek Fox, Whai Ngata, Purewa Biddle, Wena Harawira, later Tini Molyneux, Hinerangi Goodman and the many others are synonymous with driving Māori current affairs on TV into existence.
Not only reporting and presenting Māori news but also raising awareness of the importance of revitalising the Māori language. They were all native speakers, Māori being their first language, bringing Māori news and current affairs into the homes of thousands of New Zealanders.
Reminiscing recently, one of the early reporters said he knew that most of his work colleagues couldn't see any value in covering Maori news.
"The current reporting is adequate, covering what New Zealanders need to know," he remembered being told.
He said his colleagues refused to believe there could be a different, possibly more informed view on some issues they reported on. Ironic now when you see how committed the news media are today to ensuring current affairs and news are inclusive of the issues and concerns of all New Zealanders.
From day one, watching Te Karere was a daily ritual in our house. I couldn't compete for attention during that time slot, especially on the nights when (my late husband) Theo's nieces were reporting and beamed into our living room.
A native speaker himself, Theo cherished his language. To hear it spoken on TV every day, if only for 10 minutes in those early years, by those who were brought up with the language was like a dream come true.
He was able to support Te Karere over the years by making numerous appearances when requested and later did the same for Māori TV.
Those early Māori journalists and reporters could tell stories of the racism, ignorance and hostilities they encountered in their work environment. The fear and loathing of the Māori language that existed 40 years no doubt still lurks in the backrooms of some mainstream media.
But young New Zealanders, both Māori and Pākehā, won't have a bar of it. They accept the language for what it is, a gift to our nation. They're getting on board big time, and who can blame them.
They realise the revitalisation of the Māori language is important, it's part of who they are too. Part of New Zealand's shared history.
In celebrating its 40th birthday, Te Karere is to be congratulated for the part it has played, and continues to play, to ensure the Māori language is retained as a taonga for all New Zealanders
- Merepeka Raukawa-Tait is a Rotorua District councillor and member of the Lakes District Health Board. She is also the chairwoman of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency.