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Friday, 19 April 2019 08:17 pm

Whanau hope Whale Rider may swim home thanks to new doco

May 9th, 2018 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Screen grab of Paikea shown in Māori Televisions new programme Artefact

A stark, clean room awaits the tangata whenua of Tolaga Bay, chambers of artefacts line the wall drawing eyes to the centre piece of the room, waiting in sombre silence.

Shrouded in plastic, deep in the bowels of the American Museum of Natural History in New York stands the whale rider, Paikea, legendary as kaitiaki, and contemporary film.

Lonely in the foreign land, the carved tekoteko who was traded in the early 20th century is still voyaging.

Descendants of Paikea from Tolaga Bay were able to connect with him, taking a gift with hope that the whale rider would be able to swim again.

They live their life in acknowledgement that this ancestor personifies the carving, creating an emotional interaction which has been curated for the new programme, Artefact.

The first of six episodes aired Monday night on Māori Television.

The programme looks at artefacts or taonga and the stories they hold which shape all New Zealanders.

It is the second highest funded programme and a leap of faith for the network, says Keith Ikin, chief executive of Māori Television.

“This is a significant project in terms of it’s scale,”  Mr Ikin says

“These are the stories that we want to tell. And the challenge for us has always been having vessels to tell these stories in this way,” he says.

Dame Anne Salmond at the launch of the new programme Artefact for Māori Television

There is currently no legislation in New Zealand that requires broadcasters to create New Zealand made content.

Overseas content being the fraction of the cost leaves small reason to create programmes in Aotearoa.

Mr Ikin feels the nature of television in Aotearoa is bland and questions the amount of public funding that is lent to competitions around refurbishing your house.

He sees Artefact as unique to anything else that has been broadcast in New Zealand in the past 50 years.

“I’m hoping that it’s a circuit breaker really, around the sort of programmes that we can produce. I hope that there’s a will from funders to continue to invest in this sort of programming,”

Many Māori have lost connections with the culture, identity and whakapapa and through Artefact, the network hope to motivate and support the need to reconnect.

Intergenerational transmission of te reo Māori has largely been impacted by colonisation says Peter-Lucas Jones, Māori Television deputy chairman.

However he sees the programme as an opportunity to connect the world to te ao Māori.

“I see Artefact as a way to inspire not only whanau members but particularly the larger star portion of our Māori population which is under the age of 24,” says Mr Jones.

The whakaaro (idea) surrounding Artefact is to develop a deeper understanding of ourselves, of our history and how we are connected as New Zealand.

Dame Anne Salmond hosts the programme and facilitates the kōrero as if you’re not there.

She allows the taonga to speak, which she sees as portals to the past which can speak to all New Zealanders.

“These are stories that wrap us all up together. Many of these taonga have travelled overseas and have been in the hands of Māori and Pākehā. The stories are often crossovers that involve us all,” Dame Salmond said at the series launch at Te Papa.

The first episode has set the tone for the rest of the season.

“Its adventurous, its exciting, its passionate, its moving. Sometimes you’re crying, sometimes you’re laughing your heart out,”

“I think it (Artefact) has got the potential to travel into other countries, where these taonga are held. So that museum curators and people that go and look at museums in these glass cases will understand what they really mean and the power they have,” says Dame Salmond

Artefact has the ability to unlock dreams for the future on what our country should look like. It is opening up our future by examining our past.

Artefact shows on Māori Television, Monday’s 8.30pm.

Dame Anne Salmond hosting new programme Artefact

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is looking to change the shape of te ao Māori in mainstream media having previously studied at Massey University, completing a Bachelor of Communications.
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