The Māori Affairs Select Committee met yesterday with Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori - the Iwi Radio Network.

Top of the agenda was the future of the network, how they're struggling to survive and the important role they play in keeping tribal dialects alive.

The government is supporting the future viability of RNZ and Peter Lucas-Jones, an exec member of Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori says it should be likewise for iwi radio.

“If Radio NZ is going to be supported to transition - we ask that we have the same consideration as other public broadcasters - please don't forget about us.”

He also says they've been long broadcasting on inadequate funding.

“Kaua e wareware ki te rua tekau mā tahi o ngā reo irirangi Māori kua roa e kōkiri ana, e whakatairanga i te reo o tēnā takiwā, o tēnā kainga, o tēnā marae.”

But the Minister of Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta says the future is in the hands of iwi radio.

“Me aro atu ā tātou nei reo irirangi ki te whakatū tētahi rautaki kia kite mai tātou te āpōpō ki a rātou nei mahi.”

Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori Chairman, Rawiri Waru, highlights concerns that if iwi radio will be reduced down to seven stations, that could jeopardise tribal dialects.

“Ki te kore e ora ngā mita, ki te kore e ora te tangi mai o te reo o tēnā, o tēnā, o tēnā - ka tino 'robot' nei te reo.”

Yesterday afternoon, the Iwi Radio Network met with the minister to discuss their future.

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