23 Jan 2013

Iwi eye commercial national radio station

7:33 am on 23 January 2013

The National Urban Maori Authority (NUMA) has signalled it has plans to run New Zealand's first ever national Maori radio station.

NUMA chair Willie Jackson says it wants to use FM radio frequencies around the country reserved by the Government to promote Maori language and culture.

Mr Jackson, also chairman of the Federation of 21 Maori Radio Stations Te Whakaruruhau, says it believes they are the guardians of those frequencies.

The urban authority has put in a request with the support of Te Whakaruruhau to manage the national Maori radio frequencies.

Mr Jackson says the group doesn't want to lose the frequencies after hearing about the possibility of the Government auctioning them off.

He says a proposal has been put on hold until more discussions with Government officials take place and a business plan has been written up.

If a national Maori radio station is set up it would complement the 21 regional iwi stations and none of the funding for those stations would be affected, he says.

Because it would be mainly a commercial operation there would be a lower commitment to maintain a level of Maori language quota that iwi radio and Maori Television are required to provide in order to receive Government funding.