TVNZ7 funeral march protest in Wellington
About 200 TVNZ7 supporters held a funeral procession today to protest the channel's closure.
Walking from Civic Square to Parliament, the protesters followed a hearse carrying a 36,155-signature petition asking the Government to continue funding the public broadcasting channel TVNZ7.
The commercial-free channel will be wound up at the end of this week after just three years.
Organiser of the Save TVNZ7 march, Myles Thomas, said inside the coffin was the ''voice of New Zealand''.
The protesters carried posters reading: ''NZ stories on NZ TV! Ad Free!'' and chanted ''TV 7 is TV heaven''.
Some of the lunchtime crowd joined the march, while others offered their support from the sidelines.
The hearse confused some onlookers. One passerby was overheard asking who had died, while others were unsure what TVNZ7 was.
One spectator said: ''What is the drama today? I can't even get [TVNZ7] on my TV, so who cares? It's only a TV channel.''
Wadestown mother and artist Kristy Fyfe presented the petition to Labour broadcasting spokeswoman Clare Curran on the steps of Parliament.
Ms Fyfe was joined by her ten-year-old son and mother to symbolise three generations of TVNZ7 viewers.
She said her family watched TVNZ7 because it was educational and commercial-free. Its demise would mean less choice in what her children could watch.
''We wont be watching much TV at all.''
Her son, Elliot Braguley, enjoys educational programmes on the channel.
''I learn a lot from it, I like the science programmes.''
Anne Fyfe said the end of the channel was a ''great loss''.
''The country needs free TV, it promotes local interests.''
Fellow protester Sophie Cherry, 23, said it was important for New Zealand to have ''our faces and our stories on TV''.
''I just can't imagine not watching TV7.''
The channel goes off air this Saturday at midnight.
The Dominion Post