Pacific Media Watch

31 October 2014

NZ:Pasifika fono to discuss controversial TVNZ outsourcing plan

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Favourite TVNZ programme Tagata Pasifika ... under threat. Image: TP

AUCKLAND (Pacific Islands Media Association / Pacific Media Watch): Pasifika communities will gather next week to discuss concerns about TVNZ’s outsourcing of Pasifika and Māori programmes.

The special fono, organised by the Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA), is a response to TVNZ’s plans to cease in-house production of Pasifika and Māori content. 

Last week the broadcaster announced it would instead tender the production of these programmes to outside companies.

PIMA deputy chair Adrian Stevanon said TVNZ’s decision was made without consultation and Pasifika communities should have been given a say.

“These communities have been loyal audiences for Tagata Pasifika which is their flagship current affairs programme, and Fresh – the magazine show for Pasifika youth,” said Stevanon. 

“We understand change is inevitable, but the future quality of these programmes may be compromised if they’re made by outside organisations lacking the capacity or experience of current staff.”

Since Tagata Pasifika began in 1987, it has been based within TVNZ’s Māori Programmes Unit. Each year it has contributed a portion of its annual funding from NZ On Air to pay for overheads and costs associated with being a part of TVNZ.

Pacific-wide broadcasts
It is also broadcast throughout the Pacific region through TVNZ’s Pacific services where it has a loyal following among regional audiences.

Fresh, produced by Lisa Taouma, has made its mark successfully on Pasifika youth culture and it recently branched out into online territory with Coconet (

Stevanon said that despite the inroads made by these two shows, there was still a lack of Pasifika content on screen.

“This move by TVNZ creates competition within our small and almost non-existent Pasifika independent production industry in NZ at a time when we should be seeing more Pasifika content online and on screen,” said Stevanon. 

“We’re also concerned that Palagi production companies are hoping to tender for their funding as well.  Will they hire Pasifika staff just to fit the tender criteria?  We need to ensure any RFPs deal with those issues.”

The Pasifika fono will be held at the Fickling Convention Centre, at 546 Mt Albert Rd, Three Kings, next Thursday, November 6, beginning at 6.30pm.  Facilitated by PIMA, the fono is also supported by PIFT (Pacific Islanders in Film and TV) and PFF (Pacific Freedom Forum).

TVNZ plan 'catastrophic' says PIMA

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The Pacific Media Centre - TE AMOKURA - at AUT University has a strategic focus on Māori, Pasifika and ethnic diversity media and community development.