Radio Wha Waho was a pioneering bilingual sitcom about a rural iwi radio station that is close to collapse. Among characters talking back in te reo and getting up to antics on this Māori-style WKRP in Cincinnati are a smoothtalking DJ with delusions of being a ladykiller (a pre-Mrs Semisi Hori Ahipene); a young fireball who wants to graduate to a big station in the city (Greg Mayor, future star of Stewart Main short Twilight of the Gods); and Aunty Doss (Kath Akuhata-Brown), the heart and soul of the whole operation. Produced by TVNZ's Māori department.
Mai Time was an influential magazine show for Māori youth, exploring te ao Māori and pop culture (it was one of the first shows to show local hip-hop), with presenters speaking in te reo and English. Running for 12 years, it began as a slot on Marae, then screened on Saturday mornings on TV2. Mai Time was a breeding ground for Māori television talent: launching the careers of Stacey Morrison (nee Daniels), Quinton Hita, Teremoana Rapley and others. It was the brainchild of Tainui Stephens, and was produced by Greg Mayor, then from 2004 by Anahera Higgins.
Thanks partly to enthusiastic host Te Hamua Nikora, Homai Te Pakipaki soon won a keen following. Over nine years the sometimes rough and unrehearsed karaoke contest became a Friday night staple on Māori Television — encouraging young and not so young to shine, as they performed and competed for a cash prize, sometimes to studio audiences numbering as high as 3000. Alongside Nikora, the band of hosts included award-winner Mātai Smith, 2008 series winner Pikiteora Mura-Hita and radio's Brent Mio. In 2016 Nikora returned to co-host follow-up show Sidewalk Karaoke.
Backch@t was a magazine-style arts and culture show that appealed, from the opening acid-jazz theme tune, to a literate late-90s arts audience. Fronted by media personality Bill Ralston, the show included reporters Mark Crysell and Jodi Ihaka, and Chris Knox appears as the weekly film reviewer. In keeping with Ralston’s journalistic background, Backch@t took a ‘news’ approach to the arts, debating topics in the studio and interviewing the personalities, as well as covering the sector stories.
Launched in 1992, Marae is the longest running Māori current affairs programme. It aims to keep its audience in touch with the issues — political or otherwise — that affect Māori, and explain kauapa Māori from a Māori perspective. The Marae Digipoll is seen as a respected barometer of matters Māori. Marae was relaunched briefly in October 2010 as Marae Investigates, presented by Scotty Morrison and Jodi Ihaka Marae (and later Miriama Kamo) . Screening on TV One, Marae is presented half in english and half in te reoi. It is now made by company Pango Productions.
Māori Television’s flagship news show began in 2007, with a kaupapa of tackling current affairs from a Te Ao Māori perspective. Coverage of Waitangi Day, elections, plus investigations (eg into the Urewera Raids, Kiwi troops in Afghanistan, and management of the Kōhanga Reo National Trust) saw Native Affairs win acclaim, plus Best Current Affairs Show at the 2011 Aotearoa Film and TV Awards. Reporters have included Julian Wilcox, Mihingarangi Forbes, Renee Kahukura-Iosefa and Maramena Roderick. In 2015 the one-hour running time was reduced to 30 minutes.
Takatāpui was the world's first indigenous gay, lesbian and transgender series. Produced by Front of the Box Productions and screening on Māori Television for six series, the show was magazine-styled with a Māori queer focus (it was replaced by the Wero series). It was light entertainment but not afraid to delve into some hard-hitting issues affecting the takatāpui communities all over New Zealand. Presenters included transgender singer Ramon Te Wake, Taurewa Biddle (with his distinctive moko) and Tania Simon.
In this Māori Television series, young people aged from nine to 26 are armed with iPhones and given professional storytelling workshops, so that they can tell their own stories. The slices of life as a young Māori in the early 21st Century include sport, travel, fitness routines, pancake cooking, diet and fashion tips, kapa haka, and swimming with whales. Four series have been produced by Raukatauri Productions to date. Some of those who contributed to early episodes have stayed in screen work —including all-rounder Ngawaero Maniapoto, and actor Te Kaha Jonathan.