Tainui Stephens

[Te Rarawa]

Tainui Stephens is a veteran maker and presenter of television. Since starting work on Koha in 1984, Stephens has been responsible for bringing many Māori stories to the screen. Notable historical stories he has helmed amongst his extensive screenography include Māori Battalion documentary March to Victory, Let My Whakapapa Speak, and award-winning TV series The New Zealand Wars.

Interview

Tainui Stephens: Foremost Māori broadcaster...

Interview - Monika Ahuriri. Camera - Clare O'Leary. Editing - Leo Guerchmann

Tainui Stephens (Te Rarawa) is one of our foremost Māori broadcasters. He has worked as a reporter, writer, director, producer and executive producer. His credits include Maori Battalion March to Victory and The New Zealand Wars. Stephens was a stalwart of TVNZ’s Māori Programmes department in the 1980s and 90s, working on the regular series Koha, Waka Huia, Marae and Mai Time.

Collection

Māori Television Collection

Curated by NZ On Screen team

Māori Television hit the airwaves on 28 March 2004. This collection demonstrates how the network has staked its place as Aotearoa's indigenous broadcaster. The kete is overflowing with tasty morsels — from comedy, waiata, hunting and language learning, to award-winning coverage of Anzac Day. Māori Television HOD of Content Development Nevak Rogers backgrounds some MTS highlights here, while Tainui Stephens unravels the history of Māori on television here: choose from te reo and English versions of each backgrounder. 

Collection

NZ On Air Turns 25

Curated by NZ On Screen team

Established in 1989, NZ On Air has funded many of the television shows featured on NZ On Screen. Compiled to mark the 25th anniversary in 2015, this collection features a range of TV content funded in the agency's first year. With one representative from each genre, there’s the self-titled Billy T James sitcom, Richard Driver documentary Hokonui Todd and kids puppet show Bidibidi. Tainui Stephens' classic Māori Battalion documentary represents Māori programming, while long-running TVNZ series Tagata Pasifika tags ‘minority interests’.

50 Years of New Zealand Television: 7 - Taonga TV

Television, 2010 (Full Length Episode)

This edition in Prime’s television history series surveys Māori programming. Director Tainui Stephens pairs societal change (urbanisation, protest, cultural resurgence) with an increasing Māori presence in front of and behind the camera. Interviews with broadcasters are intercut with Māori screen content. The episode charts an evolution from Māori as exotic extras, via pioneering documentaries, drama and current affairs, to being an intrinsic part of Aotearoa’s screen landscape, with te reo used on national news, and Māori telling their own stories on Māori Television.

The Last Laugh

Television, 2002 (Full Length)

This Wayne Leonard documentary from 2002 goes on a journey to explore what defines Māori humour. The tu meke tiki tour travels from marae kitchens to TV screens, from original trickster Maui to cheeky kids, from the classic entertainers (including Prince Tui Teka tipping off an elephant) through to Billy T James, arguably the king of Māori comedy. Archive footage is complemented by interviews with well-known and everyday Kiwis, and contemporary comedians (Mike King, Pio Terei). Winston Peters and Tame Iti discuss humour as a political tool. 

Series

Koha

Television, 1980–1989

Regular Māori programmes started on Television New Zealand in 1980 with Koha, a weekly, 30 minute programme broadcast in English. It explored everything from social problems, tribal history, natural history, about weaponry, to the preparation of food, canoe history, carvings and their meanings, language and how it changed through time. It was a window into te ao Māori for Pākekā, and provided a link to urban Māori estranged from their culture. It was the first regular Māori programme to be shown in prime time. 

Series

Weekend

Television, 1982–1988

Magazine show Weekend dates from an era just before NZ television underwent major change: the series ended shortly before the finish of ad-free Sundays, and new competition from TV3 in 1989. The mainstay of each extended live show was journalist Gordon McLauchlan, who took the time to introduce items over a cup of tea, and handled studio interviews. Joining him at various points was Kerry Smith, Judy McIntosh, Terry Carter, and food/wine expert Vic Williams. Weekend won three Listener awards for Best Factual Series; in 1987 McLauchlan was named Best Presenter.

Series

Kaleidoscope

Television, 1976–1989

Kaleidoscope was a magazine-style arts series which ran from 30 July 1976 until 1989. Running for many years in a 90 minute format, the show tried varied approaches over its run, from an initial mix of local and international items — including live performances — to episodes which focused on a single artist or topic. In the early 80s Kaleidoscope collected three Feltex awards for Speciality Programme. Hosts over the years included initial presenter Jeremy Payne, newsreader Angela D'Audney, future Auckland music professor Heath Lees, and Warratahs fiddler Nic Brown.

Mai Time - Bloopers 1998

Television, 1998 (Excerpts)

This bloopers reel comes from a 1998 episode of the pioneering series for rangatahi, which explored te ao Māori (the Māori world) and pop culture. Named 'Mai Stakes', the outtakes montage includes presenters Stacey Daniels Morrison, Teremoana Rapley, Kimo Winiata, Bennett Pomana and Jared Pitman. Daniels Morrison nails her reo, but takes her wig off with her hoodie; and Pitman struggles to get his lines out. The soundtrack is The Jacksons 'Blame It on The Boogie', but the presenters have no one but themselves to blame for these bloopers!