Olly Ohlson inspired a generation of kids on five a day a week show After School. He is credited with introducing both te reo and sign language to children's television. His legendary catchphrase 'Keep cool till after school' is still remembered by fans.
Ka Haku Au — A Poet's Lament won Best Māori Language show in 2009. The one-hour documentary drama celebrates the life and songs of Kohine Whakarua Ponika. The largely unsung Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou composer — who couldn't read a note of music, created some of the most popular Māori waiata written, including 'Aku Mahi', 'Kua Rongorongo' and 'E Rona E'. Mostly in Te Reo, the show features Kohine's whānau in dramatic roles, performances and interviews. Kohine's children produced a CD of her waiata, available on iTunes, which in turn inspired the documentary.
Bay of Plenty singer/songwriter Maisey Rika began her musical career at 13 with E Hine, a collection of traditional Māori songs which went double-platinum and won Best Māori Language Album at the NZ Music Awards. Rika began taking on a more acoustic folk sound on her self-titled follow-up EP (2009), which won favourable reviews. Her album Whitiora won five awards at the 2013 Waiata Māori Music Awards. Rika has performed alongside Dave Dobbyn and The Blind Boys of Alabama.
'Welcome Home' was released in 2005. Dave Dobbyn has performed it many times since, including at the opening of a concert for victims of the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks. In 2017 he joined translator Te Haumihiata Mason and members of Māori group Maimoa Music, to create a te reo version of the track for Māori Language Week. Dobbyn found it "an honour and a privilege to sing in te reo". Here Dobbyn and Maimoa perform 'Nau Mai Rā' ('Welcome Home') at the climax of Tāngia Tō Arero ki te Reo, a live concert celebrating 2017's Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.
Rawiri Paratene (Ngā Puhi) was the first Māori student to graduate from the New Zealand Drama School, and he has since made an indelible mark on the NZ screenscape. Paratene’s small screen career began with a small part on The Governor, and playing Koro in 70s sitcom Joe and Koro. Paratene then hosted daily pre-school show Play School. Paratene is also an acclaimed writer whose credits include the TV dramas Erua and Dead Certs. On the big screen, Paratene has played the role of reformed gang member Mulla in What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?; but it was his role as Koro in Whale Rider that garnered him international recognition.
Named after the exaggerated facial expressions performed in a haka, this long-running children's series emphasises the energy of contemporary youth culture. Made by company Cinco Cine, Pūkana was pioneering in Māori language programming for kids. This 2015 episode sees the crew of reporters stunt driving, skydiving, camping, kayaking, bungy jumping, and hanging out with a tarantula. The crew includes past Homai te Pakipaki champ Pikiteora Mura-Hitai, and veteran Pūkana presenter Tiara Tāwera, who is about to follow Mātai Smith and switch to directing on the show.
Te Karere is a long-running daily news programme in te reo Māori. Based in the TVNZ newsroom, Te Karere covers key events and stories in the Māori world as well as bringing a Māori perspective to the day's news. Significant for pioneering Māori news on mainstream TV, for three decades it has been a platform for Māori to comment on issues and events. Founded by Derek Fox, it first went to air during Māori Language Week in 1982, before getting its own regular slot the folowing year. Te Karere initially ran for only four minutes, then 15; in 2009 it was expanded to half an hour.
By focussing on a single complaint of sexual abuse made by an 11-year-old girl against her mother’s partner, this docudrama examines the work done by social workers at the former Department of Social Welfare (now Child, Youth and Family). The victim and her family are actors but the social workers are real people who talk frankly about the confronting situations they face in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” job. The issues are canvassed sensitively by Pamela Meekings-Stewart; Former Māori Language Commissioner Haami Piripi plays the victim’s father.
Launched for 2014's Māori Language Week, the NZ Music Award-nominated video for 'Aotearoa' is a showcase of Kiwi scenery and musical talent, led by main vocalist Stan Walker. 'Aotearoa' began when TV producer Mātai Smith, aware 1983’s 'Poi-E' was the last te reo song to hit number one, thought it might be nice to repeat the feat (in the end he had to settle for number two). Walker wrote the track with his Mt Zion co-star Troy Kingi and singers Vince Harder and Ria Hall. Hall calls the result “a song to celebrate our nation, our landscape, our uniqueness, our language and our people”.
This special 1984 episode of the long-running te reo news programme looks at Waitangi Day. Series founder Derek Fox is presenter; the news item follows the journey north of a train that the Tainui tribe hired to take their people to Waitangi. Topics of protest aired include land rights, the Waikato River and the Māori language. Among those appearing are Sir Hepi Te Heuheu (Tūwharetoa), Sir Robert Mahuta and Pumi Taituha (Tainui), Sir James Henare of Northland, and Sir Kingi Ihaka (Aupōuri).