The future of the country's first Māori radio station is in limbo.

Te Reo Irirangi o Te Upoko o Te Ika is currently running on reserve funds after its funding was cut in June after their licence to broadcast was transferred to mana whenua iwi Te Atiawa and Ngāti Toa Rangatira.

Funders Te Māngai Pāho says their funding has been held because they don’t have a licence agreement with the current licence holders to broadcast on their frequency.

Te Upoko’s chairman Piripi Walker says there’s great concern over the station’s future.

“Kua tino raru katoa te āhua o te whakahaere i te teihana, nā te mea i mutu te whāngai i ngā moni i te 30 o Hune. Anā, he iti noa ngā toenga i roto i ngā pūtea, he nui ngā āhuatanga. Kua whākina katoatia ki ngā kaimahi, kei te kaha rātou, engari kei te uaua te āhua o ngā whakahaere i tēnei wā.”

The board says this issue has risen out of the government’s changes to policy, where any broadcast licences are now to be handed back to iwi.

“He pai te raihana mō te 30 tau, anā, ka whakarerekētia rātou te āhua o te raihana kia takoto ētahi kaipupuru raihana i roto, kia noho ētahi o ngā kaipupuru raihana ki waho. Nā konei i whakapōrarurarutia te noho o ngā āhuatanga o te teihana.”

Last week, Te Karere spoke with Wirangi Luke of Te Atiawa who said they wanted to get around the table with the trustees of Te Upoko to find a way forward.

An urgent meeting for next week has been called by the radio station.

“Kei te tū anō he hui ā te wiki e tū mai nei - i hui mātou i ēnei marama tata - anā, i pōwhiritia ngā iwi, ngā rangatira katoa ki tētahi hui hei te wiki e tū mai nei.”

Rawiri Waru of the National Māori Radio Network says other Māori radio stations are aware of the issue and it has raised concerns.

“Me taku karanga hoki ki ngā rangatira o TMP, me kaha ake pea tā rātou tū ki te tautoko i a Te Upoko. Me kaha hoki ki te tautoko, ki te āwhina i a rātou i roto i tēnei āhuatanga tino taumaha.”

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