Reporter, Presenter [Te Aupōuri]
Kingi Ihaka would spend time as an SAS soldier — New Zealand’s youngest at the time, at just 19 — freezing worker, policeman, and prison guard, before venturing into broadcasting. Ihaka was first approached by Whai Ngata to work on new series Waka Huia in 1987, and interview Māori elders to preserve their stories. He would later become a Programme Commissioner and Cultural Advisor for Māori Television, until finally stepping down from broadcasting in 2009; he remained a member of the station's Kaunihera Kaumatua, its Elder’s Council. Kingi Ihaka passed away on 17 January 2017. He was 74.
He understood broadcasting, he understood the sense of performance. Broadcaster Derek Fox remembers Kingi Ihaka, in an interview with RNZ, 17 January 2017
A 'waka huia' is traditionally a treasure box to hold the revered huia feather. The multi award-winning television series of the same name records and preserves Māori culture and customs. It is presented completely in Te Reo Māori. The long-running series travels extensively to retell tribal histories, and sets a high standard of reo, seeking to interview only fluent speakers. Waka Huia also covers some of the social and political concerns of the day, taking a snapshot of Māori history. Created by the late Whai Ngata, Waka Huia is a tāonga for future generations.