New Maori TV head confirmed

MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 14:27 27/03/2014

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The controversial appointment of Paora Maxwell as Maori TV's new boss has been confirmed.

The Maori TV board confirmed the appointment at a press conference this morning.

The appointment comes in spite of concerns being raised by staff and allegations of favouritism while one board member also resigned over the selection process.

In a statement, board chairwoman Georgina Te Heuheu, who was accused by Opposition MPs of meddling in the appointment process, said the process was fair and thorough.

"Mr Maxwell articulated a clear vision for how he sees MTS evolving as we head in to our second decade of broadcasting," she said.

The recruitment agency spent four months identifying potential candidates, interviewed 12 and presented a shortlist of eight candidates for consideration.

"The Board formed a short list of four who were interviewed and from which the successful applicant was selected," she said.

"We followed a standard, agreed and transparent appointment process and we are confident that we selected the best person for the job."

She said Maxwell had more than 25 years experience in television broadcasting.

Maxwell said he was honoured and humbled by his promotion.

"MTS always has, and I think always will, have to walk a fine line between making interesting and accessible television and fulfilling its obligations to te reo Maori. We have a role enshrined in legislation in regard to our language of which we cannot lose sight," Maxwell said.

He said his immediate focus would be on building on the channel's success when he takes up his role in early May, he said.

Labour's Maori affairs spokesman Shane Jones said the fact that many staff at Maori TV had concerns about Maxwell was well known and he assumed the board would have taken this into account.

Jones said the most "alarming" part of the process were the calls for Maori TV's flagship Native Affairs programme to be reined in.

Maori TV has faced a backlash after Native Affairs revealed allegations of misspending by officials at Te Pataka Ohanga, the commercial arm of the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust.

Labour's broadcasting spokesman Kris Faafoi said TVNZ had refused to answer questions about Maxwell's time with the state broadcaster.

"Paora Maxwell held a senior position at TVNZ before he left in February in 2013. We understand his departure involved a confidential agreement.

"TVNZ's refusal to respond to these questions is disappointing for a number of reasons. If it holds opinions on the suitability for someone in a senior public broadcasting role, it should show leadership and at least pass that information on to those making the appointment."

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Meanwhile, tomorrow marks the ten-year anniversary of the channel.

- Stuff

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