Auckland Welcomes Hawaikirangi, Largest TV Studio Supporting Māori Culture and Media Industry

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Hawaikirangi, the largest television studio floor and training facility in Auckland, was officially launched today with a morning prayer recited at dawn. The inauguration saw various iwi, political figures, broadcasters, and production creators gather in support alongside the employees of Whakaata Māori.

With an expansive area of 232 square metres, this newly escalated facility is situated adjacent to the Whakaata Māori building. The site houses two distinct studios, office spaces, areas dedicated to audiences, and has the capacity for live broadcasts.

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In a strong appeal for political support for the initiative, Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson, proclaimed the cultural significancy of the project. He articulated the need to support this project and highlighted the struggle for preserving their language and culture. The minister also drew attention to the extensive investment received by the mainstream, underscoring the urgency of this development.

This celebration marks an essential milestone for Whakaata Māori as its first on-site studio since they moved from Newmarket to East Tāmaki in 2017. It successfully ends a reliance on external studios that lasted for six years.

Jamie Tuuta, the director of Whakaata Māori, spoke passionately about the far-reaching impact of the new studio. Hawaikirangi, he said, represents an opportunity for on-site content creation, support for the Māori media industry, and engagement with schools and communities.

The noteworthy increase in audience engagement with Whakaata Māori was another topic Tuuta addressed. The audience for Te Reo Channel has doubled in the past year, supplemented by 100,000 downloads of Māori+ and exposure to more than a million people via Māori Active.

Named after the ancestral homeland of Hawaiki, the new facility, Hawaikirangi, is situated just opposite the main Whakaata Māori offices, Hawaikitangata.

In his address, Shane Taurima, Chief Executive of Whakaata Māori, acknowledged the collective efforts that led to the formation of the facility. He drew a parallel between the past and the present, describing the transition from a warehouse less than a year ago to the present Hawaikirangi. He added that the building was constructed using sustainable materials and existing equipment.

Taurima, recently appointed for the second consecutive five-year term, also announced Whakaata Māori’s role as the host for the next world conference of indigenous broadcasters, scheduled for March next year.

Hawaikirangi’s first broadcast, Whakatau 2023, will feature live debates and comprehensive coverage of the general election, commencing on September 19.