Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (918.88 kB)

Understanding the Māori Television Service’s Policy and Legislation: The First Ten Years

Download (918.88 kB)
posted on 2021-11-14, 09:51 authored by Freeman-Tayler, Katie

he Māori Television Service emerged in 2004 after many years of political agitation by Māori for the New Zealand government to protect and promote Māori language and culture. Given the subsequent broadcaster’s role in promoting te reo me ngā tikanga Māori, this research project seeks to answer the questions: what strategies for language revitalisation are revealed in the Māori Television Service’s governing policy documents produced from 2003-2013, and how are the Māori Television Service’s strategies for language revitalisation informed by the operating environment of the broadcaster? To answer these questions, discourse analysis of the Māori Television Service’s governing policy documents, and those which inform it, is used to reveal the broadcaster’s strategies for language revitalisation. These documents are contextualised in relation to the wider Māori language struggle, the New Zealand broadcast industry, and socio-political, cultural and economic shifts between 2003 and 2013. Such contextualisation demonstrates the purpose of the broadcaster’s strategies for language revitalisation, how and why these strategies have changed and how these shifts reflect the Māori Television Service’s negotiation of different stakeholders.  Research findings suggest that the Māori Television Service has deployed a range of strategies that enable it to meet its legislative obligations as well as respond to community and industry stakeholders. These strategies include building an audience for its language programming content, operating as a financially prudent Māori organisation, and developing programming strategies in light of technological shifts. The thesis argues that these strategies contribute to the naturalisation and normalisation of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori within the national imaginary, and that these reflect key tactics for language revitalisation as set out in the 2003 Māori Language Strategy. The thesis also identifies a shift from the Māori Television Service’s focus on language programming quantity to language programming quality, and a shift to focusing on te reo speakers over a broad viewer base, across the ten year period of the broadcaster’s existence. The thesis aligns these more recent language programming strategies in relation to current changes in language revitalisation activities. In revealing the competing pressures faced by the broadcaster, this thesis highlights the role the Māori Television Service has played in increasing the symbolic value of te reo Māori, as well as how it has contributed to language revitalisation strategies in sectors beyond broadcasting.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Media Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970120 Expanding Knowledge in Languages, Communication and Culture

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies


Smith, Jo