18 Jun 2010

Sky cut Maori subtitles to anthem after complaints

9:49 pm on 18 June 2010

Sky Television says it used to run Maori subtitles to the national anthem when All Black games were broadcast but stopped after complaints from subscribers.

Palmerston North rugby fan Roy Nielsen has written to MPs and television broadcasters in an attempt to launch a national campaign to teach people the Maori words of "God Defend New Zealand".

Mr Nielsen, who is not Maori, is worried the country will be shamed next year at the Rugby World Cup because few people know the national song in Maori.

A spokesperson for Sky Television, Tony O'Brien, says it previously ran subtitles but stopped after complaints from subscribers. Any request to run them would be a first, he says.

Mr Nielsen, who does not know the song by heart himself, says he thinks that, like him, many people tend to mumble their way through the Maori version at public sports events.

He proposes that the words should run on TV screens when the All Blacks sing it at this year's tests, before next year's World Cup.