Government agency interventions in Australia and New Zealand’s indigenous popular music industries and indigenous empowerment


  • Jennifer Cattermole University of Otago



As Wilson and Stewart (2008: 3) note, “industrialized, mass-produced messages and images – and accompanying technologies – in most cases have represented the perspectives, values and institutional structures of empire.” While radio broadcasting in post-colonial New Zealand exemplifies this global trend, Māori have challenged Pākehā dominance of the nation’s airwaves in recent decades, having successfully carved out a space for themselves within the New Zealand mediascape. Nevertheless, getting more Māori music (especially songs with te reo lyrics) on radio and other forms of broadcasting media remains a challenge – especially in the New Zealand commercial broadcasting sphere. It has been 30 years since a te reo song last topped the charts.

      This challenge has been addressed in various ways by the two organizations mandated to promote Māori language and Māori culture via broadcasting: Te Māngai Pāho (TMP) and New Zealand On Air (NZOA). This article will describe and evaluate TMP and NZOA’s responses to calls for more Māori music (especially songs with te reo lyrics) on air, and suggest further measures that could be implemented to increase the broadcasting of such music. It will also placeTMP and NZOA’s strategies in the context of broader NZ cultural-political shifts, and in the context of changes in the NZ broadcasting environment. It asks whether, or to what extent, cultural protectionism is needed today in NZ’s deregulated and diversifying broadcasting environment.