The theme of this year's International Day of the World's Indigenous People has been welcomed by the Minister of Maori Affairs as an opportunity to celebrate the work of indigenous media in influencing the social and political agenda. The focus of this year's International Day is "Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices".
"When I stood in New York in April 2010 and announced New Zealand's support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it was one of the proudest moments of my life" said Dr Sharples.
"In my korero on that historic day I acknowledged "the determination of Maori that custom, worldviews and cultural heritage should be reflected in the laws and policies of New Zealand". Two years on we recognise the amazing contribution that whānau, hapu and iwi leadership and Maori organisations play in every sphere of influence. And we know this - because our indigenous media is capturing the nuances of every debate".
"Today we celebrate the success of indigenous media - television, radio, film and social media - in bringing indigenous values and voices into every home" said Dr Pita Sharples. "This year Te Upoko o te Ika marked twenty five years of Maori radio and broadcasting. We now have 27 iwi radio stations broadcasting on 68 frequencies specifically reserved for the promotion of Maori language and culture. It's a fantastic example of indigenous enterprise and investment in our future".
"As we approach a decade since the Maori Television Service Act (Te Aratuku Whakaata Irirangi Maori) came into being I will soon be announcing proposed legislative amendments that will fine-tune and future-proof Whakaata Maori and reflect its ongoing commitment to our language. The Maori Television Service Amendment Bill will support them on their quest to becoming a world-class indigenous broadcaster and I look forward to a collective commitment to that course".
"Empowering indigenous voices is also about an enhanced emphasis on language revitalisation. Just last month Maori Television announced increased Maori language tuition programming. While the statutory commitment to te reo is significant, I want to also commend the broadcaster for promoting the indigenous voice in many aspects - whether it be Kai time on the Road; reconnecting people with their whakapapa (Tatai hono); gaining an insight into taonga and art forms (Te Irikura) or preserving our collective history such as in the ANZAC Day commemorations".
"As Minister of Maori Affairs I have key responsibility for upholding the role of Te Mangai Paho in actively protecting and promoting Maori language and culture by funding content for television and radio broadcast. I believe that broadcasting can have a significant impact on the way we see ourselves as New Zealanders. World Indigenous Peoples Day reminds us all of the incredible difference being made by indigenous broadcasters".