(From The Dominion Post)
Byline: THOMPSON Gordon Jon
It's been a rocky road with a few dead ends and wrong turns along the way, but Maori TV is finally set to begin broadcasting. Gordon Jon Thompson reports.
COURT cases, expensive underwear, screaming headlines and fraud. As far as drama goes, getting a Maori television channel on the airwaves has got it all.
Ever since Jim Bolger's National government committed in 1991 to provide for Maori television, that vision has been plagued by delays and accusations of wasting taxpayer money.
Maori Television (MT) was due on air in June 2002, then late last year, but the deadlines were missed as chief executives came and went.
No wonder MT interim chief executive Ani Waaka is feeling relieved, if a little apprehensive, ahead of tomorrow's official launch.
"It feels exciting, but, for myself and the team here, it feels like we are only in the final throes of what has gone on for a long, long time. It was a struggle to have our people see us and hear our language in their homes. That's what is driving the things Maori Television will be doing."
The MT brief - to revitalise Maori language and culture through broadcasting - is simple, but getting the station up and running has been anything but. If the shows offered by MT have as much edge-of-the-seat interest, ratings should not be a problem. So far, it is fair to say, the process has been a shambles, but there are …