Maori voice to be heard

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Invercargill-born Moana Maniapoto has a new current affairs show. Photo: Supplied

EXCITED and with a healthy dose of nerves, Moana Maniapoto is ready to tackle current affairs through a “strong Maori lens” on her new Maori Television show Te Ao With Moana

The show aired its first episode this week and would continue to run for 30 episodes on Maori TV, on Tuesdays at 8pm.

The award-winning recording and performing artist, documentary maker and E-Tangata writer was approached by Maori TV last year to host the show.

Despite having a lot on her plate, the Invercargill-born talent decided to take on the challenge head-first.

Ms Maniapoto said she wanted to “dig deeper” into the issues and controversies within the Maori world.

“The thing that excited me was being a part of a new team, you know, different energy and different people that I’ve never worked with before.”

She said she wanted to take the opportunity to learn and be stretched out of her comfort zone.

“It’s not like it’s totally new to me but trying to crystallise issues into a very short time-frame is going to be a big challenge for someone like me who likes to rave on.”

Te Ao With Moana would join the limited number of platforms producing content through a “Maori lens”, including The Hui, Marae, Iwi radio and Te Karere.

She said there was not a lot of opportunity for “that Maori voice” to come through.

“I want to be able to join the dots like I have tried as a musician and get an audience of all different races, cultures, and political sensibilities to see the value of Maori values and the Treaty, to move us forward.”

Each episode would focus on local and international issues and give a stage to the voices in the community, she said.

Award-winning television producer Colin McRae was set to produce the current affairs programme.

“We’ve got a very experienced producer who’s been in current affairs for donkey’s years, which is pretty good for me because I’m a newbie to the news area and he’s a calming force.”

Mr McRae said Ms Maniapoto brought a “unique talent and insight in to indigenous current affairs.

“She is totally locked in to the flax roots of Aotearoa. Her knowledge and contacts both domestically and internationally ensure we will be presenting a fascinating view of Maori matters.”

Joining Ms Maniapoto are a team of seasoned journalists including Lulia Leilua, Wena Harawira, Kim Webby and Tina Wickliffe.

“They’re really in touch with things that are relevant and hopefully they can reach a range of people,” Ms Maniapoto said.

Currently touring around the country performing with Arts on Tour NZ, she had been asking Maori she met along the way about their biggest concerns.

“I was walking down the corridor at the TVNZ studio for our dummy run the other day, and guess who I see – John Campbell.

“I asked him if he had any advice and he said, ‘just be yourself’, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

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